Have you found your motivation waning during the pandemic? You don't feel motivated? Your inspiration has gone AWOL?
Your excitement for work is just not what it used to be. Everything got turned upside down.
In-person ministry shifted to online ministry.
And for those who have been able to have live services, the number of kids and families coming to the physical church building has been reduced to half or less of what the attendance was before COVID-19.
And on top of that, you've had volunteers step down from serving. In the majority of cases, they stepped down due to the virus and the risk of being infected. No matter the reason, when volunteers step down, it has a negative effect on you. It leads to self-doubt many times, as you ponder why they left. Was it your leadership style? Did they not feel appreciated? Did you not make it safe enough for them to feel comfortable enough to continue serving?
Then there are the online videos. Whether using someone else's or creating your own, you wonder how many kids and families are actually watching them. Is it worth the time and effort you're putting into it?
All of these factors can lead to discouragement. Your motivation is slowly leaking out and not being replaced.
You're trying to stay motivated, but it's hard due the factors I've listed above and others that you are working through. You wonder:
How do I stay motivated?
How to I keep my passion on fire?
How do I keep investing in the ministry volunteers? Especially those who are thinking about stepping down or have taken a hiatus from serving?
Will things ever get back to "normal?"
It's during times like this that God calls us and equips us to lead well. But we must remember, before we try to motivate others, we must first be motivated ourselves.
Staying motivated during a pandemic can be a challenge for sure. But it can be done through intentional steps. Here are a few tips about staying motivated in the midst of a pandemic.
1. Wake up, and get up. Get up, and get dressed—even if you are working from home. Don't fall into the habit of sitting around all day in your pajamas. That can turn into binging on Netflix instead of getting things done. Treat working at home like you are working at the office.
2. Set goals. Set manageable goals that you can meet. Meeting these goals will help you stay engaged and focused.
3. Exercise. You need to jog. Lift some weights. Walk around the block. Do some form of exercise a minimum of 5 days a week. Yes, I know it's not easy. They call it a "workout" for a reason. It's hard work, but the benefits outweigh any negatives you may experience.
4. Stay connected. If you are working from home, be sure you stay connected with what is going on. Information and clear communication are necessary parts of leadership. Communicate with staff members. Communicate with volunteers. Communicate with parents.
5. Push anxiety away. It's hard to stay motivated when you are having anxiety attacks. Yes, there is plenty to be stressed about right now. Anxiety about the future abounds. But it doesn't have to control you. Take it to God, and leave it there. And if you are having severe anxiety, connect with a doctor as soon as possible. It may be a physical condition you are going through due to stress.
6. Stay positive—even when it's hard. The months that have passed have been filled with one negative thing after another. Negativity is the easy choice because it doesn't seem like there's positivity anywhere to be seen. Work hard to see the good in every situation, no matter how terrible it may seem. Attitude is half the battle in any sport; you can be in the best physical shape, but a negative mindset will crush any chance you have of coming out on top. Practice optimism, and you'll be glad you did in the long run.
7. Spend extra time with Jesus and His Word. What a great opportunity you have to spend some extra time with Jesus in prayer and in reading His Word. Do this daily. You will soon find out that being with Jesus can help ease your fears and doubts. He is the master of the sea, you know.
It may feel like this pandemic is going to last forever. But it will eventually pass. In the meantime, keep your eyes upon Jesus, and let Him fill you with hope. The sun will shine again. Better days are just around the river bend.
Do you have a copy of my book Lead Well in Children's Ministry? It will give you the tools you need to lead well during challenging times. It's available here.
Dale Hudson has been in children's ministry for over 30 years. He has helped build some of the largest and fastest growing children's ministries and churches in the nation. At Christ Fellowship in South Florida, he helped the church grow from 12,000 to over 28,000 people attending each weekend. In eight years there, he built a volunteer team of over 2,600 that ministered to thousands of kids each weekend.
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