As leaders, we are meant to toss back the covers, climb out of bed, and drink in the fullness of life God intended for us. We are called to live alert to the wonders all around us and within us that expand our desire to know God more. Yet a focus on the functionality of ministry combined with an increased sense of familiarity can numb us to the marvelous work to which we've been called—encouraging people to walk in the fullness of all God has called and created them to be through Jesus Christ.
Here are a handful of things that can pull us away from living wonderstruck and experiencing the daily splendor of knowing Jesus as we lead:
1. We become absorbed by inner workings. Every church and ministry requires systems to function. Before I became more involved in the church, I honestly believed that the worship leader selected songs on the spot and played for as long (or short) as they felt led by the Holy Spirit. No one told me they had precisely 17:30 minutes to perform their four pre-selected songs that tied into the sermon.
Most people who attend a church have no idea of what it takes behind the scenes to host weekend services. As we begin taking on more involved leadership roles at a church, our eyes our opened. But the awareness of systems and processes can soon become a barrier to nurturing a sense of wonder. We can easily become more focused on the framework or tasks before us than on the God who longs to reveal his glory and work miracles in our midst.
2. We become specialists in the church world. As we grow in leadership, we naturally become more selective of what we read, study, and expose ourselves to. Much of this is healthy and good, but if left unchecked, we can soon become connoisseurs and even consumers within the church world. We can become more dedicated to our picks and preferences than to Christ.
Scripture reveals Christ constantly challenging the religious leaders' comfort level, biases, and preferences. Shouldn't we live in expectation that Christ in his great love will do the same to us?
Though much work stands before us, we must keep our eyes, ears, and hearts open for how God wants to recapture our attention in the most splendid and unexpected ways.
3. We become distracted by sin and our fallen world.Philippians 4:8 calls us to focus our attention on "what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable." But some days in life and ministry we become distracted, our attention drawn far away.
I sometimes compare ministry and working in a church to going behind the scenes at Disney World. For most people—especially kids—Disney is a majestic world of delight and play. But those who work at Disney World have a different perspective. They don't buy a ticket but punch a time clock. They know the inner workings. They've seen Mickey Mouse struggle to climb out of his suit after a long sweaty day. They've been behind the scenes of the Small World to discover it's not cute as much as it's in need of cleaning.