I did it today. I ran my first half marathon. I met my goal, I placed well, and I had a great sense of accomplishment. I have thought about doing one for the past 7 years since I did a ten mile run, but I didn’t do it until earlier this year- as it is one “one of those things to do before my wife gives birth” sort of thing.
Paul reminds Timothy to “train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV).” Keeping this in mind, as I reflected over this morning’s race- there were some leadership and ministry principles that came to mind. Here are a few.
A dream never becomes reality until we do something about it.
Proverbs reminds us that “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (29:18 KJV). I believe this is more than a dream or a hope for something. If God has given us a vision for our community, people, or goal- we have to begin to prayerfully plan this out. I said that I always wanted to run the marathon. What accomplished it? It took the act of setting my deadline and planning out the steps that it would take to make this happen.
What goal, dream, or vision do we have that could be accomplished if we planned to do something about it? Keep in mind that when we plan and pray, God may and can change our plans.
There will be opposition when we work to accomplish our goals.
Running hurt. There was one or two runs I couldn’t finish while training. There was rain, cold weather, and even snow (thank you Wisconsin!). It rained all morning before the race. The thought of not following through definitely crept up many times.
We have critics. We have people with different ideas, and others that may not share our vision. Not only that, we have an Enemy that is against our goal to help others take steps with God. We have opposition, and this is going to be tough. But stick it out!
Move at a sustainable pace.
During my training, I knew that I could run at a 9:00 minute a mile pace and sustain it. I started slower than I thought, and worked to make up lost time. I ran a 7:00 minute mile! It felt great- but I quickly realized that I would burn out at that pace before the race finished.
In leadership, we may be running at a pace that is unsustainable. We may be able to accomplish more things in the short term and feel great (I felt really good about the 7 minute mile), but if we aren’t honest- we will burn out much faster than we are supposed to. Move at the sustainable pace- you will accomplish more that way.
We must rest to race at our best.
My training called for a week and a half “taper” where I did a few light runs and rested from regular exercise. I was told that this will help my body be in optimal shape before the race. It was tough- I wanted to run the week during the race to make sure I “still had it.” However, I simply trusted in my training and made it through.
I think about our ministry’s big events- mission trips, camps, and retreats. Not to mention every weekend is BIG. What if we trusted in our preparation before our big day in order to be at our best before the big day? What if we planned out our rest time before- so that we will be at our best when we need to be. I need to be at my best for my students every Sunday, and I need to be at my best on our big events of the year- because this is an optimal time to help them take steps with God. I can’t help but wonder if I had more of purposeful rest before hand that will allow me to be at my best.
Finally, it is best to celebrate with friends.
I loved knowing that my wife and two great friends were waiting at the finish line as I finished the race. Even though I was in pain, it was great to share the journey with them and grab a meal afterwards. It made the experience better. Before moving onto what’s next- take time to celebrate what you accomplished.
Tyler Volkers is the Student and Elementary Pastor at The Ridge Community Church in Greenfield, WI. You can follow him on Twitter at @tylervolkers.