Pastors quit too soon. Many of them quit because of moral failure, anger, discouragement and other reasons. I am learning more and more about going the distance and not quitting. My learnings stem from my marathon training. This March I will run my first marathon.
1. Run at a healthy pace – In my first race I jumped out the gate and sprinted too early. I was exhausted five miles in on a ten mile race. No more energy. Nothing.
In leadership you must have boundaries. Boundaries protect you from going too hard, too fast. Protect your time, your body, your family.
2. Run with no excess baggage – In running you want to eliminate all unnecessary weight. Early in my training I did not have the proper equipment. I ran in heavy shoes, cotton shirts and large basketball shorts. Unnecessary baggage and weight.
I switched to feather light running shoes and dri-fit clothing. Instantly I was lighter and faster. The same is true in leadership. You cannot lead in a effective manner with excess baggage. Leave behind anger, addictions, bad habits, guilt and toxic people.
3. Run with a team – It is easy to go on short runs on your own. As time goes on and runs increase to ten, fifteen, twenty miles it is essential to run with a team. Team running provides encouragement and support to press on and finish strong.
In leadership it is vital to be surrounded by a great team. Great teams provide the necessary accountability, support and encouragement to be the best leader. To go the distance you need a solid marriage (if married), teammates, and mentors.
4. Run with frequent re-fueling – I remember my first long run like it was yesterday. I was clueless. I laced up the running shoes and ran. No strategy or preparation. I ran a course with no water fountains and I did not bring along water. Bad mistake.
In running it is imperative to stay hydrated. Most experts recommend you rehydrate every two miles. The same is true in leadership. Leaders must refuel. You are not build too go hard and fast all the time!
Find what refuels you. For me, spending unhurried time with God, running and going on dates with Meagan provide new energy.
How do you go the distance? What refuels you?
Excerpts from Jeff Wells – Senior Pastor of WoodsEdge Community Church