Self Care and Christian Educators
The ministry and work of the professional church educator is challenging and demanding.
The fact is that the more you stay in the field and in the ministry (especially if you stay in the same ministry context) the job only gets more complex, not less.
Educational leadership is the kind of job that involves evolutionary development.
Just when you think you’ve got the job down it expands, grows, evolves, morphs, changes, and shifts into different venues, levels, areas, and forms.
At the very least we can say it will always be interesting. But it is also a job that never ends.
Given that reality it is easy for church educators to slip into routines of “getting by,” or, get into patterns of over-functioning that result in neglect of personal care and important dimensions of personal growth.
In order to stay on their game and practice sound stewardship of their calling, educators need to give attention to these critical areas:
- Their practices of devotion and disciplines in the spiritual life
- Their attention to physical wellness
- Their nurture of a healthy family life
- Their attention to vocational development
- Their observance of a moral lifestyle
- Their attention to sound financial stewardship
- Their cultivation of sustaining relationships.
Evaluate yourself on how well you cultivate those seven areas of life and ministry, especially in these times.
If you neglect any of them it will not take long before the others are affected.
And here is what we need to be aware of: we may fool ourselves about how well we are doing in those critical areas, but we will not fool others—our families, colleagues, or church members—for long.
Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. He directs the Pastoral Excellence Program at Columbia seminary. He is the author of the bestseller, The Hidden Lives of Congregations (Alban), Perspectives on Congregational Leadership (Educational Consultants), and A Family Genogram Workbook (Educational Consultants), with Elaine Boomer & Don Reagan, and Leadership in Ministry: Bowen Theory in the Congregational Context.
His books on education include Mastering the Art of Instruction,The Craft of Christian Teaching (Judson), How to be the Best Christian Study Group Leader (Judson), and Planning for Christian Education Formation (Chalice Press).