In-take and Create

It’s happened to us all, we sit down to create something for ministry and there’s nothing. We’ve pulled up to Starbucks or closed the door to our study to write another sermon, curriculum or blog deadline (gulp) and we’ve got nothing… I mean nothing. Everyone is looking to you for the next great idea for your upcoming event and you have no idea how you are going to engage your group’s imagination. Or maybe you are at the other end of of the spectrum right now; you finally have the time to take a break and refresh your soul in the Lord, but you’re getting nothing from it. For a month you have looked forward to that free Saturday that you blocked out to spend time with the Lord, but you don’t feel like you got anything from it. The job of a pastor is learning how to consistently and creatively pour out from a place of being filled up by God. We seem to be in a constant fluctuation between taking in and creating. Finding a productive balance that is not completely draining is difficult. For some of us, balance may seem elusive, a myth, like it’s the Yeti of ministry. 
I preach/teach a lot in my current role, more than I feel comfortable with but this is my current stage in life. I know, I know, you’re going to link some article about students needing to hear other voices or training up other teachers but sometimes you have to do what you have to do.The reality is that as difficult as it can be at times, it’s been good for me as a young pastor. I’ve learned so much about finding a rhythm, trusting God, and striking a balance between in-take and create that I would not have found otherwise. I wish I could tell you that I learned this truth without messing up and wearing myself down, but it would not be true…I’m a slow learner. Yet God is faithful, and He has used this period of my life tremendously to grow me as a communicator and a creator, but mainly as a follower of Christ. 
Whether you know it or not, finding balance is important to your life as a pastor. It’s a question of health. Young ministers coming out of school seem to fall victim to this at an alarming rate. They have spent years building up all these ideas and thoughts, only to exhaust themselves and their ideas six months into ministry. Like a person who has dove (dived, doven, diven?) too deep and is struggling to make it back to the surface, they desperately need air to breathe (refreshment). Often, we hide behind the excuse of being too busy. If you are ministering well, you will live a busy lifestyle. You might need to cut some things out of your life to find balance. Skip the Grey’s Anatomy Netflix marathon this weekend. Get off of Twitter. Stop listening to the podcast. We can not just resign ourselves to being on the razor’s edge of burnout forever. Striking a balance of taking in and creating leads us to a healthier place.
This is the beginning stage of creating anything for God. Do you have grandiose aspirations of being an author some day? Are you tired of singing every one else’s songs? If you have ever wanted to create then you must refresh your soul in the Lord on a daily basis. This is the time we spend with the Lord, thinking on the Lord and learning new things about the Lord (note: this is not sermon preparation). As a minister, you have to spend time with the Lord. It’s probably not a new revelation to you that Jesus retired away to a quiet place to be with God, but it’s still true. Jonathan Edwards used these verses to show that Christians need to wake up early to spend time with God. I will not go this far, but I will tell you that you must allow your personal relationship with Christ to remain a priority if you ever hope to minister effectively. It’s important to realize that we do not spend time with the Lord so we can write an inspiring blog or paint a beautiful painting; we do it to know the Lord. Outside of this, reading books, listening to music, sitting silently, and being around God’s creation are just some of the many ways we can refresh our souls.
We are all made to create. From the beginning of humankind, we have been called to create. It’s a purpose given to both Adam and Eve. It is a natural outflow from the worship rising within our hearts and a release for us as human beings. God created beauty for us to interact with. It’s not just looking at a beautiful sunset, but it’s writing, drawing, making music, and a hundred other expressions to God. If you do not think you are creative, it simply means you have not found your creative expression. Creativity has nothing to do with talent. You are not creating for others, you are creating for God. We express the new life we have in Christ by being creative. In a recent keynote, Tim Cook of Apple (yes that Apple) said that “designing something requires focus.” This is true of creativity… it will require focus and time. Let’s be people that create for the glory of God. 
These two worlds have to be balanced. If we are simply taking in we will quickly become spiritual gluttons. If we are creating too much then we will always be running on empty. Here’s a few things I’ve observed:
1. There’s beauty and immense value in both of these working together.
2. Habitual unconfessed sin disrupts these processes. 
3. You have to make time for both. The Enemy will tell you that you don’t have time, but this is a way of keeping you unhealthy. 
4. You will need to plan small moments of refreshment and larger moments of refreshment. You cannot hope to run to the point of exhaustion and just plan a day away and hope to get refreshed. It needs to be a regular part of your life, even if it’s 10 minutes of quiet a day. (car ride home!)
5. Schedules and discipline is vital for both of these. Do you have a set time for both of these? If you don’t, it’s the first step towards health and balance.
6. We all have different ways that we do both of these.
What are some of the ways you in-take and create? 

[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Brandon Weir is the Student Pastor at The Fellowship Round Rock near Austin, TX. What does Brandon love? “I love my wife Jules, my dog Ranger, Texas Tech, being outdoors, the Texas Rangers, camping, hiking, reading, Torchy’s Tacos and I love me some Jesus.”

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