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Discipleship

To Keep Your Ministry on Track, Watch Your Gauges

We all need renewal from time to time. As pastors, just like anyone else, our spiritual lives can grow stagnant and plateau. 

The good news is we get to experience Easter—we get to celebrate resurrection—every day, not just on the holiday. Paul tells us renewal is a daily practice. “Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16 NIV).

Pastor, we need that kind of renewal every single day. A stale pastor can’t lead a growing church. 

The Bible repeatedly tells us to examine ourselves. In 1 Corinthians, it says, “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NIV).

What does that mean?

To experience daily spiritual renewal, we need to be looking at the gauges of our lives—alert to what could devastate us in any area. A car has multiple gauges. A battery gauge tells us if there isn’t enough energy in the battery. A gas tank gauge tells us whether we have enough gas. If any of those gauges get low, we’re in trouble. Our car will stop running. 

The same is true for you. Your ministry—your life—will be derailed when your gauges hit empty. I don’t want that to happen to you. That’s why it’s important that you watch your gauges. Start by asking yourself these four questions on a regular basis: 

  • How am I doing emotionally? This is your emotional gauge.
  • How is my health? This is your physical gauge.
  • How is my walk with the Lord? This is your spiritual gauge.
  • How are my relationships with my spouse, my children, my friends, my staff members, and other people in the church? This is your relational gauge.

These questions relate to some of the most important gauges of your life. If you stop paying attention to any of these gauges, you’ll hit empty—and won’t even notice it at first. That’s when you plateau. 

Why are these gauges so important? Three reasons:

  1. Because we’re not as strong as we think we are. “Even if you think you can stand up to temptation, be careful not to fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12 CEV). Given the right situation, all of us are capable of any sin. The Bible tells us the heart is deceitful. We lie to ourselves way too often. We are not as strong as we think we are.
  2. Because Satan is plotting to defeat us. “Be alert, be on watch! Your enemy, the Devil, roams around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 GNT). Satan stays up all night, plotting to ruin your day. If you get up every morning and don’t meet Satan head-on, you and he are headed in the same direction.
  3. Because our lives affect other lives. “Watch yourself and watch your teaching. Keep on doing these things, because if you do, you will save both yourself and those who hear you” (1 Timothy 4:16 GNT). Every life has a more far-reaching impact than we are aware of. But your life as a ministry leader impacts a particularly high number of people. People are watching you. People are listening to what you say. Your sin might be personal, but it’s never private. Other people may never know your sin, but it affects them because it affects you.

Have you ever had a General Protection Fault (GPF) on your computer? Some people call it the blue screen of death—all of a sudden your computer just shuts down.

That’s what happens when you stop paying attention to your gauges and violate your conscience. You hit a GPF. It’ll crash your system. When that happens, you can’t be passionate about your ministry—because you can’t feel guilty and passionate at the same time. 

Take a long look at your own gauges. Ask yourself the questions above. Bring others into the conversation. It’s that important. 

Your work—your ministry—matters too much to let your guard down.

I want you to be able to repeat Paul’s words in 2 Timothy 4:7: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” (NLT).

That won’t happen unless you’re constantly watching your gauges.

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