The only way you can help others develop is to develop yourself. I have given my life to developing others and helping others walk in their dreams – inspiring people to dream and challenging them to live in their dreams. Therefore, it is vital that I develop myself. If you want to influence your family, your community, your church, your business, your school, your college for the better then you must develop yourself. You cannot distribute what you have never collected.
It’s like whenever you listen to the safety demonstration before an airline flight. They always tell you to make sure your oxygen mask is firmly attached before trying to help anyone else. It is exactly the same in life and ministry – you cannot help someone else connect to God, to their dreams, to their ministry, to their future if your connection is not secure! If you want to help others, work on yourself. I always daily, weekly, monthly and yearly have events in my calendar that feed me, stretch me, develop me, inspire me and challenge me. I often go to conferences just to sit and learn. I daily listen to others teach. If I want to help you live the life of your dreams, the number 1 key is to live the life of mine! I have told my church before that the most important thing they can do is feed me good information and inspire me, and the most important use of church money is to make sure I am developing. The higher I soar, the more we can all soar.
Many leaders, in their deep compassion to help people, to love people, to inspire people, invest 100% of their life into people, and they find out that their own oxygen mask is not attached well! Then they start to suffocate, become legalistic, get insecure, and that then is reflected in their leading and teaching! That’s not a pleasant place to be!
Everyone of you who knows you are called to help others, to minister to others, to invest your life in others, to bring others to the middle of their field of dreams – you must FIRST DEVELOP YOURSELF! Now how can you do that, and what are the signs that you are not doing that.
There are three signs that you are not taking care of yourself and your stretching and expanding. They are all very obvious.
- You Get Frustrated At Regular Tasks
- Every job, whether CEO or janitor, whether pastor or PA to the pastor, involves tasks that need to be done regularly. Things must be cleaned, books must be balanced, calls must be made, bills must be paid. Now I am not saying they will be the most favourite part of your day or week or month, I am not saying you will never find those tasks boring or monotonous. But if you start getting frustrated, if you start thinking you cannot handle those tasks, your life is unbalanced and you need to start taking some time for you.
- You Cannot Create Creative Solutions
- There is always more than one way to skin a cat. When your mask is not on properly, the shortage of oxygen means you cannot think of other solutions. You cannot welcome solutions from others, you cannot dream beyond the end of your nose.
- You get all the work done that is right in front of you – you write this week’s sermon, you write this week’s rota, you buy this week’s materials. But you never dream long-term, you never think – right, what series of sermons over the next year will help people soar, can we do the rota system in a better way, can I give the whole rota to someone else, can I automate this buying process, can I get the same stuff cheaper elsewhere?
- You Get Jealous of the Success of Others
- One strange thing that happens when you are not connected to the vine, when you do not focus on yourself is that you stagnate, but you also get annoyed with people that are soaring! You just get upset they are opening a new church, they are getting promoted, they are moving forward! That jealousy, a nasty strife-filled, confusing jealousy, is a sure-fire sign you need to start investigating yourself and investing in yourself.
- The second you cannot rejoice with those who rejoice – invest more in yourself. Grow on the inside and the outside will grow! It’s that simple. Take your eyes off other people and do whatever it takes to get your mask on and connect yourself to the source!
So, how can you develop yourself? What can you do?
- Daily Development. Do you pray in tongues daily? Do you read your Bible daily? Do you listen to or read someone else daily? These three are in my mind non-negotiable development tools for daily use. If you are too busy to pray and read the Word you are too busy to be a pastor, quit the ministry today!
- Weekly Development. Are you learning something new at least once a week? You should be. To me weekly is the rate of learning that works. Maybe do a weekly course, join a weekly Bible study, take a weekly night course. But every week you need at least 1 hour, preferably 2 or 3, where you are just learning new things. That’s so important!
- Monthly Development. We need to do somethings monthly that challenge us. Learning new information is important, but it also important we learn new skills too. Monthly is a good time to do something that you have never done before.
- Annual Development. You must go to a conference. You must go away from your home town, go away from your people and go away from your life and start to get involved with developing yourself. You need to be staying away from home and get involved in everything God has for you. When Paul held the first ever pastor’s conference, he held it for the pastors at Ephesus but he held the conference in Miletus, over sixty miles away (which in those days is a three day journey). Why? To get you away. You need annually at least once to go to Jerusalem and get away. In fact, every Jew in the Old Testament had to save 10% of their income (this is separate from tithing) so they could go away and develop themselves. It’s that important!
What is your daily development? What is your weekly development? What conference are you getting involved in this year? Let me know! What are you doing to put you first!