What do you do when the motivation just isn’t there?

I’m wrestling with that right now.

Well, maybe not wrestling. Thinking about wrestling.

Sorta like this guy.

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As of yesterday it’s been exactly five weeks since I handed the baton to Pastor Drew Arliksas at Mountain Vista Bible Church and hit the door. Since then it’s been five weeks of resting regathering myself, preparing to launch into whatever the Lord has next in my path, and wondering.

About myself.

A few things have become clear about my strengths and weaknesses as an interim pastor. Perhaps you’ll relate to some of them.

A few strengths

Looking back over the last three or four interims, I see several trends that point to ministry strengths that God has hardwired into me.

  • Good preaching. I’m a strong expositor. Always have been.
  • Good adaptive leadership. I can provide the leadership a church needs, from highly directive to a light hand on the tiller.
  • I embrace making tough decisions and speaking firmly when it is needed. I don’t enjoy conflict anymore than anyone else, but I lean into it when it is called for.
  • I can see the big picture and I’m pretty good at helping others see it.

So I guess I’m well suited to churches that either respond well to a minimal lack of pastoral leadership (because there are skilled lay leaders) or those that require a firm hand on the tiller, one that won’t shrink from tough calls.

Significant weaknesses

But I see more and more my weaknesses, which are many. Thankfully, God somehow works around those or provides other resources that help the churches get through! Thankfully, the community of God’s people is resilient and able to withstand significant weakness in their pastors.

  • Impatience in the end game. When I see that the church has rounded the final turn (though they may not know it yet), I’m eager to get on with it. Much to my chagrin I must admit that I get can get cranky at times.
  • Perfectionism that chafes at unfinished business. This is silly, but even when the church is ready to bolt ahead, I feel this odd compulsion to make sure that all the unfinished tasks get finished. This is dumb, I know because in church things are never finished!
  • I tire more easily than I used to. This is probably age, but it may also be a signal that God is moving me into a new phase of ministry. Even though it has been five weeks I’m still not ready to pick up and move on.
  • Insensitivity. At times I lapse into imbalance in the “one and the many” problem of church leadership. People become resources or hindrances and I miss my pastoral calling in the push to get things done.

So I’m trying to rouse myself. Get back into the action. Become productive. Crank out that writing that I’ve promised. Catch up on the reading stack of “pastor stuff.”

Question

What have you learned about yourself in the “down times” between interims? And how do you recharge your batteries for the next one?

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