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Faith Leaders 4min read

The One Thing Leaders Must Do

Russell St. Bernard is a Reverend at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church and founder of Ministry Pivot. In his series for Givelify, he explores what leaders have to do to be great.

Have you ever been to a circus or show where they had a juggler perform? I remember the first time I saw a juggler in person and not on TV. They didn’t just juggle balls in the air; they juggled everything from shoes to glasses and even sharp objects. 

As I thought about ministry and ministry life’s challenges, one word came to mind, juggle. If you’re going to be successful and focused as ministry leaders, you must learn how to juggle well. Years ago, I heard Bishop TD Jakes share that leaders had to juggle different ministry projects. He explained that leaders need to “touch everything but hold onto nothing.” 

As you juggle, the goal is to keep everything in the air and allow nothing to hit the ground. Here are my thoughts on juggling in ministry.

Leaders must have constant momentum

 – As a leader moving forward and being constant is vital if you’re going to be successful in ministry. Having continued momentum means juggling the energy and excitement of Christ between all of the projects. The ministry projects or opportunities that do not have a level of excitement or momentum might be good ones to reevaluate and see if you need to continue to do them. Some of the ministry events that you have always done might not be ones that you need to continue to do. You only have so much energy and the same 24 hours per day, so giving energy and time to everything isn’t the wisest way to use what God has given you. Evaluate your ministry projects now; what should you shift?

Leaders must have a constant focus

 – With all of the projects and the ministry events competing for the leader’s time and energy, the focus becomes key. I used to play basketball in high school, and you need focus for the whole game; however, during the free-throw shoot on the road, you need the most focus.

If you have ever played basketball or watched it, you know what I mean. During the free-throw shot, the away team player has to focus on the line as the fans and crowd try to distract them. One of my coaches would always tell us that we had to focus on the rim and the net. Focus on where you wanted the ball to go and not on anyone or anything else around. Leaders who juggle well need to focus on the end goal for the Church and the ministry. All of the projects may have different components and elements, but the end goal should be the focus. If you’re having a hard time focusing on projects because others continue to jump in, you might need a person or some software to help you manage it, or both. You might also need to let go of a project or two that aren’t pointing you and the Church toward the end goal; what is your focus?   

Leaders must have a constant balance

 – When I say balance, I don’t mean anything with Church and work. I mean the opposite; leaders must have something outside of the Church that they balance and balance well so that the Church doesn’t take every minute of their life. This could be time with your family, friends, or time with yourself. You see the juggler on the stage or the TV, but there is more to them than that. There are moments where they practice, eat, laugh, have fun, and sleep. Ministry leaders also need a constant focus beyond the ministry, a place or area that allows them to “sharpen” their saw. You know the term from the 7 habits of highly effective people. Balance will be a blessing to you and your family that will allow you to come back to the ministry rested and ready. 

How do you balance? Where do you balance? Who do you balance with?

About the Author

Russell St. Bernard is the director for ministry operations at Kingdom Fellowship AME Church in Maryland, and the founder of After the Music Stops, a full-service youth ministry company as well as founder of Ministry Pivot, a company dedicated to assisting leaders and churches seize opportunities for growth.

Russell St. Bernard