Click here for a printable version of On Mission Together.
Watch the April 2021 SKMB Video Update.
Nuts and Bolts
A collaborative training event for church leaders
On April 14th approximately 50 church leaders gathered together on Zoom. Pastors Luke Etelamaki (Regina), Terry Dueck (Winkler) and Gerald Dyck (Morden) spoke for this first MBCM – SKMB joint training event on the theme “Post Pandemic Mix”. They shared their experiences and learning about the church ministry and mission post-COVID. Breakout groups met between speakers to discuss what was shared. The following are some of comments shared by the speakers:
- We are in a season of re-inventing church.
- We need to be 100% online and 100% in-person.
- Is attendance, whether online or in-person, the same as being truly engaged?
- Church pastors, who have shepherd gifting, are finding this time extremely difficult while pastors who are strategic thinkers and entrepreneurs are thriving.
- Going forward we must think about ourselves as a church with a building and not a church in a building.
- Jesus makes dead things alive, and so, Jesus can revive the church post-COVID.
- What are we about when we cannot meet on Sundays? What then is our mission?
- We need a course correction as the church.
- How can we be the hope of Jesus to our community in tangible ways?
- Disciples must take responsibility for their spiritual formation.
- Every week we wanted to bless another part of our non-churched community with some tangible blessing.
- Like an x-ray, COVID has revealed fractures in our mission and ministry.
- As a church, we are re-thinking post-COVID ministry and discipleship.
- What tools are needed for disciples to self-feed?
- I have been in a COVID fog this past year and my vision has been week to week.
- We have decided that the main question we need to ask is, “What kind of a church do we want to be in the future? What kind of culture do we want to form?”
- Our online presence is an entry pathway and not the goal of our ministry and mission.
My Battle With ‘Vertigo’
“Be still and know that I am GOD.” ~Psalm 46:10
“Whatever else it may be, life is one big balancing act.” ~Sherwin B. Nuland, MD
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, the physical sensation of extreme dizziness, has been my thorn-in-the-side for five years. One spell of just seconds can render me feeling nauseous and off-balance for hours. It is not uncommon for me to have one a day. When I experience an episode, I will do most anything to regain immediate balance. I have adjusted my lifestyle to compensate for this chronic condition and engage my ailment with utmost seriousness. I limit my activities to those that require very little movement (no amusement park rides for me) and avoid head positions that trigger episodes (no more handstands). Daily, I appeal to God for healing. I also pray for grace as I wait. I remind myself that there is purpose in this struggle.
I also battle with balance of another kind – life balance. Equalizing my time in abiding with Jesus, caring for myself and my family’s well-being, and fulfilling my ministry responsibilities, is formidable. I know I am not alone in this tug-of-war over time and priorities. I have experienced at least one period in my life when I came face-to-face with burnout. Using a tachometer metaphor, my capacity to effectively engage life was in the ‘red’. I responded by making significant changes to how I viewed my emotional and spiritual capacity, said ‘no’ to most asks on my time. I participated in life-giving pursuits such as listening prayer, exercise and pursuing activities that brought me joy and rest. Today I am well aware of my personal capacity, I guard my margins and I am sensitive to what my well-being “gauges” are telling me.
Jesus exemplified for me a balanced life. He equalized time with the Father, maintained a healthy well-being (including personal relationships) and engaged successfully in ministry priorities such as caring for people, mentoring the disciples, preaching and teaching. He literally had the cosmic weight of the humanity on his shoulders, and yet he lived in peace and balance beyond understanding. I continue to be inspired by Jesus as I wrestle with my own life balance orientation. Like a gyroscope, Jesus’ example helps me achieve stability and direction in this life. Jesus is my life stabilizer; my proverbial equalizer so-to-speak.
In Search of Balance
In the book In Search of Balance, Richard A. Swenson writes, “Our difficulty in recovering balance and then sustaining what we have recovered is that balance is not a single-point-source problem. Everywhere we look, we see the battle lines.” The challenge of maintaining a healthy life balance is a great one and many have fallen to defeat, some never to recover. That being said, there is hope. I have experienced victories in my own struggle and learned much. I encourage you to persevere, but you must act proactively sooner rather than later. You play a role in this battle to conquer life balance vertigo.
The following are my helps as I walk the pathway to a balanced life:
- Own the problem. Personal accountability is ground zero for building a balanced life. Admit personal limits and understand that exceeding them will result in disorientation.
- Seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit and other wise advisors. One needs this practice in order to accomplish the deep soul work around how and why they are spending their life as they do. Too often people have blinders on.
- Assess the expectations you and others have on your most limited resource, time. What is and isn’t realistic and healthy? Unmet expectations rapidly rob us of joy.
- Examine your history of investing time. What needs to stop, continue, be somewhat changed or start?
- Ask yourself, am I doing enough things that are truly life-giving? Am I engaging in activities to promote physical health (regular exercise, sufficient rest, balanced diet)? Am I guarding my margins? I once owned a sports car, and I was always careful to keep the vehicle’s rpms in the red to a minimum otherwise the engine was in danger of a malfunction. In ministry contexts, without personal margins, we malfunction as caregivers, we stop being able to help others and instead need help ourselves.
- Ponder whether or not you are truly cherishing the right things? For me, this is abiding with the Lord, time with family and friends, and pouring into my passions.
May these helps assist you to avoid, or come to terms with, life balance vertigo. There is an Irish proverb that says,“When God created time, he made plenty of it.” Where so many of us have stumbled is to wisely choose the right things into which to pour our time, and then correctly apply the right amount of it. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe counseled, “Things that matter most, must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”