People Who Fill Your Energy Bank
People Who Fill Your Energy Bank
In the last post we identified some people who drain you, and make it difficult for you to recover after preaching and ministry. In this post we will take one more look at this subject, focusing on people who fill your energy bank after it is drained from ministry.
Avoiding People Who Drain Your Bank?
One of the challenging truths that I have learned is that I can’t avoid entirely those people who drain me. You can’t spend your time exclusively with the people identified in earlier posts, the ones who make you laugh and feel good about life and ministry. So, what do you do with the negative, draining people? Here are a few suggestions:
There are times you can choose to avoid people who drain you. I had one woman who would be waiting for me after the service each week. She would then expound on everything I had said that was wrong with my message–in her opinion. After trying to be gracious, and listening carefully to a critic so that I could improve, I finally called a halt. I told her that I was not able in the moments right after a service to hear her well. If she wanted to talk with me, I’d be in the office on Tuesday, and would gladly reflect with her then. The next week she continued the tactic of waiting for me. As soon as she started criticizing, I stopped her, invited her to call me on Tuesday, and then walked away. She got angry, and eventually left the church. I felt a little bit badly, but not much. You don’t need to take it when someone goes on the attack repeatedly.
Look for the Kernel
Another suggestion comes from Robert Schuller many years ago. I was at a conference that he hosted at the Crystal Cathedral. Someone asked him in a Q and A time how he dealt with critics. He replied that critics were his quality control. He looked for the kernel of truth that might be in the critique.
This is difficult most times, but especially when you want to stick around people who fill your energy bank up, not those who drain it, but it is a worthy endeavor. It will help you define your motives for what you do and the hidden agendas in your heart.
I remember a critic who didn’t like the idea that we were selling the first church building of our church in order to relocate, allowing for continued growth of the congregation I was serving. He said, “You’re just trying to build your own kingdom!” and walked out the door. I thought through what he said. Is my motivation messed up? Am I trying to get validation by being “successful” in ministry? Or am I doing what God is calling this church to do? I talked to others involved in the ministry, people I trust, people who fill my energy bank when it’s dry. The question I asked was simple: do you see this in me? It was a good test, and the opportunity came from the critic.
When the critics come, ask yourself if they are hitting on a kernel of truth.
Scheduling Time With People Who Fill Your Energy Bank
There are enough draining experiences in ministry that you will have to be intentional in scheduling time with the people who fill your energy bank up by making deposits, not withdrawals. That sounds simple, but in the busyness of life, we often wait until the bank is drained before arranging for deposits.
After a couple of times of depression, I realized that I had to be intentional–in other words, I connected with people and got them on my calendar. A monthly meeting with my accountability partner was put on the calendar–an appointment I still keep now, even though I’m almost 70 years old. I made regular phone calls with a friend who made me laugh. When we finally had the privilege of living closer together near the end of our active ministries, we meet the first Friday of every month for lunch. Another man whose presence I enjoy is on my hiking agenda. It is not a regularly scheduled activity, but I take responsibility to make sure that we make contact.
The Deepening Intimacy
These different kinds of people who fill my energy bank represent co-centric circles. On the outer circle are those that I just enjoy being with, like my hiking partner. The second circle represents people with whom I share more, like my friend and our monthly meeting. The inner circle represents my accountability partner, one with whom I can share everything–my weaknesses, challenges, failures, etc.
Schedule these people in, and the energy boost will reward you. In the next post we’ll look at some other activities that will fill your energy bank.