Last week was absolutely crazy for me. All of my evenings were spent with amazing people who met Jesus and were taking the next step in their spiritual journey by deciding to get baptized. During those meetings, two people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior, which never gets old and is always exhilarating to witness. This was in addition to the myriad of other responsibilities that needed my attention during the week. But regardless of how busy life and work and ministry can get, I have a few non-negotiable items that I cannot say no to. This is for the sake of my sanity and for the benefit of the people who I serve. Here are my five non-negotiable items that I cannot function without:
1. Feeding my soul with Scripture and Prayer. People in ministry have a danger of feeding others, without feeding themselves. My regular Bible reading is often not necessarily that which I am preaching on or preparing a talk on. It is for my personal nourishment and edification. Often though, what I am preparing for is exactly what I am reading and mediating on, daily. I consume the Scripture through my trusty paper Bible, using the Youversion Bible app and also listening to the Audio version if I am commuting.
2. Dinner with my wife, every night. There is no other responsibility more important for me after my relationship with Jesus, than the relationship I have with my wife. If I can’t lead my household well, I won’t be able to lead others well. If I have to say “no,” to something else to make sure this non-negotiable item is included in my schedule, I most certainly will. This is actually a huge benefit to everyone involved.
This is a time when we connect, sync our schedule and just talk about what is on our hearts, without any other distractions.
3. A minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep. When I was in seminary, I mostly lived off of grace and adrenaline. This allowed me to pull all-nighters and function on 2-3 hours of sleep. But I am not trying to put myself through that again. Sleep is super important for me. It refreshes my entire being to go out the next day and be full of clarity. If I can sneak in a twenty-minute power nap during the day, I will. God wired our body to get rest.
If you don’t get rest, rest will eventually get you.
4. Connect time with a mentor. Every week, I speak with a few people in my life who have chosen to speak into my life. They identify my blind spots, coach me on the spot, pray for me and pray with me. Just this past week, I was having a super rough moment. One of my mentors just sat next to me, said that I did not need to give him any details and that he would just pray for me. I felt like a huge burden was lifted off of my shoulders.
I can’t function without these mentors in my life and am super thankful for them being in my life.
5. Reading new content, every day. Because I preach every Sunday, it can be a bit of a pressure to create new content, every single Sunday. This is why at my church, we preach through Books of the Bible, verse by verse. I know what text I am preaching on every Sunday, ahead of time. I also consume a huge amount of information. This comes in many forms like blogs, podcasts, books, news articles, Twitter and Facebook. I want to know the pulse of my generation. This helps me dive deeper into culture and engage with the people who I am serving. I don’t want to know more, just to know more. I want to consume information in order to synthesize it in a way, that is easily consumed by those benefiting from the content.
Leaders read and readers lead. If you want to lead well, you need to learn to read well.
This is my list of five non-negotiable items, that I just cannot function without. There might be more, but these comes to mind first. The goal is to not be so busy with doing the work of Jesus, that you might run the risk of Jesus being missing from the work that you are doing.
Question: What you are some of your non-negotiable items? What else would you add to this list?