Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Hey Fletch … I’ve been a pastor for 15 years and I’m mentally dying. I’m at a place of intellectual stagnation. What can I do to get out of my muddle?

DRF—Perhaps the first 10 years of ministry were a challenge. Everything was new. You had plenty of ideas from seminary. Some of them worked and some did not. Then you began to coast. You knew what to do to have a good ministry. It thrived but you had lost the challenge. What should you do now?

First, improve your intake of material. Cut down your social media by 50%. Invest that time in reading. Read for pleasure and read for content. Don’t read only websites and news media that you agree with. Find 10 stimulating websites that offer radically different opinions than the ones you hold. Let them challenge you to “explain in a new way what you really believe.” Read books that are out of your genre—science fiction, the classics, mysteries, poetry and plays.

You are in a rut because the wagon wheels have been using the same road for a long time. Get out of the rut and think widely. In what you take in, process it through a Christo-logical lens. What do the gospels say about what you are reading?

Second, improve your out-take of material. Talk to people who are readers and learners. Write articles that have meaning and depth. Share with others what you are learning. When you speak in church, salt it with some of the outside sources that you are reading. Integrate the complexities of society into your messages. If you don’t overwhelm people and sound like an ivory tower academic, people will respond!

Let me know how it goes! Carpe Diem.