To be honest I've never been that great of a bike racer. I raced for 4 years and had a couple top 5 finishes. Our team did very well and won some races. It was great fun to be a part of a successful team but in reality I was pretty mediocre as a cyclist.
Even though I wasn't winning races I was fit. Saturday mornings would consist of a 3 1/2 hour training ride that was about 70 miles. The ride averaged about 22 mph which is actually pretty fast. When I was training I would ride around 175 miles a week.
That was 2 years ago.
Saturday I went on a group ride with some fast riders. At first I thought it wouldn't be a problem to hang on and enjoy the ride. You see, I haven't really been on a serious ride in about 8 months but something in me believed I still had "it" whatever "it" is.
Within 30 minutes or so I was suffering immensely. I couldn't hang on just because I was in good shape 2 years ago.
Here's the deal. It doesn't matter how fit you WERE. All that matters is how fit you ARE. This is true for bike racing and true for ministry.
Are you ever tempted to lean on how God used you in the past? Are you always telling stories of what God did a few years back but don't have stories about what God is doing now?
I'm not saying we should forget God's faithfulness of the past but if ancient history is what you remember most fondly perhaps it's time to do a serious assessment of your life and ministry in the now. It's often an uphill battle to stay fresh and live in the now. God longs to work in you and through you now, not just in the future or in the past.
So here are a couple of suggestions of how to stay fresh. I hope to apply them to my life soon...
Take a 1 day refreshment retreat
Go to your immediate supervisor and ask for permission to get away for a day to reflect and pray. When I do this I take a book, Bible and pen and paper. Sometimes it's great to go with no agenda. Just sit and listen to God. Take a nap, read or just daydream.
Go to a conference
Ok, you may not learn anything new, but being around people who do what you do is almost always energizing. You may not learn anything new but you may be reminded of something you forgot.
Visit another church
Worshiping in another setting where you have no responsibly is awesome. I need to try this a couple times a year.
I know you have some suggestions of what you do to stay current and fresh. Please post them for all to enjoy.
May we be pastors and leaders who experience the presence and work of Jesus NOW. Let's fight to stay fresh.