Twice a year your church staff gathers for a planning day. We usually go offsite. It was at my house this past Monday. We try to spend the morning in some kind of learning event - perhaps bringing in a guest speaker to help us grow in our capacity -- both as individuals and as a staff.
This past Monday we spent the morning reviewing Stephen Covey's classic book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. We had all read the book beforehand. We listened to overviews of each habit presented by a member of the staff. We then asked how we could apply what we learned to our personal lives, our interactions as a staff, and what it might teach us about our congregation as a whole.
In some ways, we just scratched the surface of the material because there was so much of it! We will probably be referring back to it for months to come. But, the core concepts are helpful for everyone. They are: 1) Be Proactive; 2) Begin With the End in Mind; 3) First Things First; 4) Think Win/Win; 5) Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood; 6) Synergize; and 7) Sharpen the Saw.
The whole time we spent Monday could fall under the heading of "Sharpening the Saw." In his book, Covey talks about how it is worth the time investment to sharpen the saw before you try to cut down the tree. If you do not, you have to exert a lot more effort with a dull saw. Covey suggests that many of us are so busy in life that we forget to sharpen the saw physically, mentally, spiritually, and socially/emotionally.
In the church, we talk about the need for Sabbath -- at least one day in seven to stop, slow down, and do the things that renew us. One of these is worship. When we worship God well, we find our spiritual "saw" sharpened. So, make time to "sharpen the saw" weekly - you will be glad you did!
Prayer for Today
Thank you, God, for giving us your commandment to seek out spiritual renewal through our weekly worship of you. Help us to keep the Sabbath holy -- because in doing that, we will make the time to renew our souls. We pray this in the strong name of Jesus the Christ. Amen.