Pastors, are you paying attention in your ministry?

speed limitAre you paying attention in your ministry: to what you are doing, not what you need to do next? To the person you are talking to, not who you need to see next?

Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat say, “All kinds of wonderful and important things are going on directly in front of us but we miss most of them because we are not awake.” (Spiritual Literacy: Reading the Sacred in Everyday Life). For most of us, this requires slowing down, and doing one thing at a time. That’s the opposite of what we usually do.

I’ve had to learn how to slow down recently – we changed auto insurance, and I can save hundreds of dollars if my driving patterns are monitored for several months. So I have to drive the speed limit, and be careful not to slam on the brakes. I’m learning quite a bit from this – not the least of which is to pay more attention to my driving than I usually do. And I’m also finding that I see my surroundings more when I’m driving more slowly.

Why bother to pay attention? You will experience your life differently. The Brussats also quote Fritz Perls: “Boredom is lack of attention.” If you’re bored by your ministry or your life, start paying attention to see what new things you can notice. In addition, if you are paying attention, others will experience you differently. Giving this kind of careful attention to your lfie and others can lead to more satisfaction and joy in your ministry.

So here are ten ideas for paying more attention:

  1. Drive the speed limit for one day.
  2. Drive in silence for one day.
  3. Do one thing at a time. You may have seen the recent research that multitasking does not increase productivity.
  4. Stop and take a breath.
  5. Look around you for one color and see what you notice.
  6. Watch a small child.
  7. Listen more carefully to a family member or parishioner (or both).
  8. Draw an everyday object—even if you don’t know how to draw.
  9. Extend Thanksgiving by considering what you are grateful for today.
  10. Get some coaching to help you slow down.

What ideas do you have for paying more attention to your life?

And here’s a post on doing nothing as a spiritual practice.

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