by Tom Goodman
June 2, 2011
You need regular times of escape for self-examination. This is true for all of us, but especially those of us who are leaders.
Leadership and teaching can be exhausting responsibilities. They both require high levels of creativity, energy, and confident enthusiasm. I've found that I'm at my best when I can get away and regroup from time to time. For years,
I've used a few days in the summer for that purpose. I get away from the church field with four items: last year's calendar, next year's calendar, a Bible, and a notepad. With these things in hand, I try to accomplish five things:
I Relax. I shut down the e-mail, unplug the phone, put away my pages and pages of reading material, turn off CNN, and just get silent before God. I need this time to remember that I am a human being, not a human
I Review. I reflect on where my personal life is going, how I'm doing as a dad and a husband, a neighbor, a friend, and a pastor. I give some thought to how our church is progressing and what areas need development.
I Repent. Sometimes my review uncovers attitudes that need addressing, relationships that need strengthening, habits that need developing (or killing). The Greek word we translate "repentance" is metanoia and it means "to
change one's mind." I need to change my mind on some things.
I Renew. I renew my excitement for my call, and set goals that will propel me into the new year with fresh commitment.
I Recharge. My annual review is a chance to ask for God's Spirit to fill me again for the work ahead.
Those of us from the South have an advantage over the rest of the country. Our unique vocabulary has a phrase for this process. We say we're fixin' to do something. Before I launch into a new church year, I need a time where
I'm fixin' to launch into the new church year! Do you have an annual day to put your life and work through these five steps? Pray for me in my annual planning... and start your own yearly tradition!
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