...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Dip for Clergy

Nurturing the Old vs. Birthing the New is a great topic for ministry because no matter what you are doing, there are always some things that need to die so that you can give your energy to birthing something worthy of your time and energy.

I like the idea of the Dip as set forth by Seth Godin. When to quit and when to stick is the book's theme. Sometimes clergy mistake rigidity for faithfulness. I've seen some folks have a success or two and figure that those successes can be transplanted to every other church they will ever serve. Many pastors stay too long, waiting out the last few years until retirement and very content to ride whatever wave is left.

But whether you stay with it and work through the dip or decide to quit at the right time, dips do exist. Learning how to face them honestly and ask the right questions is probably most important. It's in the long term where most of the rewards are.

Here are some questions on which to reflect regarding the dip:

1. Are you currently approaching, in, or beyond the dip in your setting? Why or why not? For Godin, the dip just starts shortly after what we would call the honeymoon as pastors.
2. What currently sets you apart from others in your field?
3. How can you narrow your focus instead of widening it?
4. How can you become, or are you already, one of a few instead of one of many?

Godin suggests that the smaller supply favors the one who has greater focus. The dip is an interesting concept for second half clergy and makes one wonder if the learning and experiences for them are in part, the uniqueness they have to offer. After all, wisdom always seems to be in short supply.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting thoughts. I could see them applied to churches as well as individuals.

    Why do churches feel that they have to offer 'everything to everyone'?

    What sets 'our' church apart as unique?


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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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