A Pastors Mental Health
A pastor may be deeply committed, extraordinarily faithful, highly educated and extremely hard working, but for a pastor to be effective and durable, a pastor must practice healthy self-care.
Self-care includes developing and maintaining good physical, spiritual and mental health practices.
These three areas of wellness are intertwined and inseparable. Yet, in my own life and in the experience of many of my colleagues, I recognize that more attention has been given to physical and spiritual health. Mental health is often neglected, causing all three to diminish. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being.
Every human being experiences highs and lows in mental health. Although some forms of mental illness are genetic, other expressions of mental illness may be related to circumstances or body chemistry and may be pre-emptively avoided or proactively addressed by practicing good mental hygiene. A common but misconception is that pastors, or persons with strong religious faith, are exempt from mental distress.
The Apostle Paul is noted for his courageous ministry but he confessed, “Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:28).
In his book, “Surviving the Stained-Glass Jungle,” veteran pastor Bill Self writes, “Self-care is not destructive self-indulgence, but rather it is being a steward of some rather special gifts – the human body and soul, along with the capacity to bring joy to others as well as to experience it.”
Those in every vocation experience varying levels of stress, distress and duress.
However, because the pastoral task requires remarkable investment in the lives of others, a pastor who neglects mental hygiene can gradually slip into a state of melancholy or emotional chaos and then compound the dilemma by ignoring the symptoms for fear of stigmatizing his or her ministry.
Lift up your pastors and leaders in prayer that God will cover them and give them wisdom. Especially during this period of time we are in. Many are facing the lack of direction or encouragement needed to endure and lead during a pandemic and crisis.
More to come from CTN on this topic - www.ctnglobal.org
Why students should go back to school–safely
The AAP guidance is based on what pediatricians and infectious disease specialists know about COVID-19 and kids. Evidence so far suggests that children and adolescents are less likely to have symptoms or severe disease from infection. They also appear less likely to become infected or spread the virus.
Schools provide more than just academics to children and adolescents. In addition to reading, writing and math, children learn social and emotional skills, get exercise and access to mental health support and other things that cannot be provided with online learning. For many families, school is where kids get healthy meals, access to the internet, and other vital services.
What schools can do To stay safe, there are a number of steps schools should take to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. They include: See graphic above.
Physical distancing. The goal should be to stay at least 6 feet apart to help prevent the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. However, spacing desks at least 3 feet apart and avoiding close contact may have similar benefits for students--especially if students wear cloth face coverings and do not have symptoms of illness.
Teachers and staff, who are likely more at risk of getting COVID-19 from other adults than from children at school, should stay the full 6 feet apart from each other and students when possible. Teachers and staff should also wear cloth face coverings and limit in-person meetings with other adults.
When possible, outdoor spaces can be used for instruction and meals. Students should also have extra space to spread out during activities like singing and exercising.
Cloth face coverings & hand hygiene. Frequent hand washing with soap and water is important for everyone. In addition, all adults should wear cloth face coverings. Preschool and elementary students can benefit from wearing masks if they do not touch their mouths or noses a lot. Secondary school students should wear cloth face masks, especially when they can't stay a safe distance apart.
Classroom changes. To help limit student interaction outside the classroom, schools can:
Have teachers move between classrooms, rather than having students fill the hallways during passing periods.
Allow students to eat lunches at their desks or in small groups outdoors instead of in crowded lunchrooms.
Leave classroom doors open to help reduce high touch surfaces such as doorknobs.
Temperature checks and testing. COVID testing of all students is not possible for most schools. Taking students' temperature at school also may not always be feasible. Schools should establish ways to identify students with fever or other symptoms of illness. They can also frequently remind students, teachers, and staff to stay home if they have a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher or have any signs of illness.
Cleaning and disinfecting. Schools should follow CDC guidelines on proper disinfecting and sanitizing classrooms and common areas.
Buses, hallways and playgrounds
Since these are often crowded spaces, schools can:
Give bus riders assigned seats and require them to wear a cloth face coverings while on the bus. Encourage students who have other ways to get to school to use those options.
At school, mark hallways and stairs with one-way arrows on the floor to cut down on crowding in the halls.
Outdoor activities are encouraged, so students should be allowed to use the playground in small groups.
In addition to having plans in place to keep students safe, there are other factors that school communities need to address:
Pressure to catch up. Students may not have gained as much from distance learning. Some students may not have had access to computers and internet. Schools should be prepared to adjust curricula and not expect to make up all lost progress. It is important to balance core subjects with physical education and other learning experiences.
Students with disabilities. The impact of schools being closed may have been greater for students with disabilities. They may have a difficult time transitioning back to school after missing out on instruction time as well as school-based services such as occupational, physical and speech-language therapy and mental health support counseling. School should review the needs of each child with an Individual Education Program before they return to school, and providing services even if they are done virtually.
Exams. If your child participates in extracurricular activities like sports or band, talk with your pediatrician to see if they need a preparticipation physical exam. Key well-child visits are also important.
Behavioral health/emotional support. Your child's school should anticipate and be prepared to address a wide range of mental health needs of students and staff. Schools should provide mental health support to any student struggling with stress from the pandemic and recognize students who show signs of anxiety or distress. Schools also can help students with suicidal thoughts or behavior get needed support.
Nutrition. Many students receive healthy meals through school meal programs More students might be eligible for free or reduced meals than before the pandemic. Schools should provide meal programs even if the school closes or the student is sick and stays home from school.
Students at higher risk. While COVID-19 school policies can reduce risk, they will not prevent it entirely. Even with safety steps in place, some students with high-risk medical conditions may need to continue distance learning or other accommodations. Talk with your pediatrician and school staff (including school nurses) to determine if your child can safely return to school.
Returning to school during the COVID-19 pandemic may not feel like normal – at least for a while. But having safety plans – and making sure schools have the resources needed to follow them – can help protect students, teachers, staff, and families.
Our Kingdom Responsibility
We have a responsibility to no only adhere to the guidelines by setting an example, but doing it with love an encouragement. There are many reasons to be the light that shines in our Education system and this is a pivotal time in a young persons life we can influence and impact for the Kingdom of God.
These are just a few simple practical and spiritual things we can do daily to make going back to school valuable and anointed.
The First Demand Of Jesus
The first demand of Jesus’ public ministry was, “Repent.” He spoke this command indiscriminately to all who would listen. It was a call for radical inward change toward God and man, a going back to your higher self
Two things show us that repentance is an internal change of mind and heart rather than mere sorrow for sin or mere improvement of behavior. First, the meaning of the Greek word behind the English “repent” (metanoeo) points in this direction. It has two parts: meta and noeo. The second part (noeo) refers to the mind and its thoughts and perceptions and dispositions and purposes. The first part (meta) is a prefix that regularly means movement or change.
So the basic meaning of repent is to experience a change of the mind’s perceptions and dispositions and purposes.
The other factor that points to this meaning of repent is the way Luke 3:8 describes the relationship between repentance and new behavior. It says, “Bear fruits in keeping with repentance.” Then it gives examples of the fruits: “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise” Luke 3:11. This means that repenting is what happens inside of us that leads to the fruits of new behavior. Repentance is not the new deeds, but the inward change that bears the fruit of new deeds. Jesus is demanding that we experience this inward change.
Experiencing Loss , But Not Lost..
Missed our Transformation Thursday! Well, Lauren Benjamin out of Long Beach, California and a partner of Cultural Transformation Network (CTN), shared some powerful moments of her encounter with Jesus during the loss of her mother that helped her find breakthrough.
7 Ideas To Fight Leadership Fatigue
This is a kingdom talk as well as a cultural transformation talk. Mental exhaustion hits us all in some way or another. The important thing is what do you turn to or do to keep you sane or to find some comfort and release?
7 Ideas to Fight Leadership Fatigue
Now, here are some useful ideas to help you fight leadership fatigue:
1. Create an Artifact to Remind Yourself Daily of Your Real Purpose. The daily challenges in our organizations/ministries can be all consuming. Chasing the urgent consumes much of our time and the urgent-unimportant has a way of filling any openings. An exercise I’ve used for years now to help leaders, pastors, ministers remind themselves is to develop and make visible their own personal leader’s purpose/mission. A simple morning re-read of this framed purpose hanging on the wall or sitting on a shelf provides a powerful reminder of your real role and the opportunity you have to build others, equip others and your business or organization with every single encounter in the upcoming day.
2. Cultivate a Beginner’s Mind. Approaching issues by suspending judgment and seeking first to understand is a remarkable way to change the tone and tenor of every day. Beginners learn to ask questions and viewing people and teams and challenges from a fresh perspective can lead to an inner calm and a perpetual journey of discovery. The wisest leaders I’ve worked around understand that with every person and every day they are beginners. Be willing to learn.
3. Keep it in Context. Remember, you have the privilege of helping people and helping your employees or members every single day. Each day is a blank canvas that you get to fill-in with positive encounters, helpful ideas and productive interactions. Problems and issues represent opportunities to serve and to teach. Recognizing and reminding yourself of this privilege of serving helps to tame the stress.
4. Engage in the Moment—One Encounter at a Time. Instead of focusing on the noise and heat that you expect to encounter every day, reign in your focal point to the person, group or issue immediately in front of you. Much of our angst is over the expectation of what will happen. The act of focusing on what’s happening in the moment versus boiling the ocean of uncertainty over what may happen or what’s happening in the background is liberating. You get to create the future one controllable moment at a time. Trust God!
5. Get a Mentor. I love the idea to of a great mentor for all of the wonderful wisdom they bring to our issues and they provide the help for us to see ourselves and our situations with a level of clarity that we are unable to gain on our own. Great mentors peel back the layers of complexity and help us identify our core problematic and strength-based issues and then they give us a push (or sometimes a kick) in pursuit of resolving or strengthening around those issues.
6. Manufacture “You” Time. Finding time to think deeply about what you are doing and what you need to do is priceless. Our always-on world and our omnipresent devices don’t make this easy. Something as simple as 15 minutes of reading (in your profession, in your discipline, pure escapism… whatever) gives your brain both a much needed stress rest and a jolt of energy and creativity.
7. Don’t Be Afraid to Push the Eject Button. While it may sound like I’m suggesting you give up, there are absolutely circumstances where enough is enough. I tripped and stumbled a bit with my own eject activity, however, I would do the same thing all over again. The transition helped me refuel and regain much needed context. Importantly, it set the stage for some of my life’s best work. Sometimes a new adventure is just what the spirit needs to revitalize. Of course let it be a peace within and a leading from God.
No Need to Suffer in Silence
Here’s what I’m saying…. I’ve encountered too many people suffering in silence in their roles responsible for others. Nothing good comes of this martyrdom…for you for or for those around you.
Pick a strategy to recharge…try a variety of approaches until something works or, cultivate the courage to go do something else. The only mistake is to stay locked in irons, making yourself and everyone around you miserable.
Leading others is too important to be left to someone out of gas and out of heart. Given our challenges in this world, we need all the leadership energy and heart we can muster.
Cultural Transformation Network
As our churches reopen, we encourage you to follow and consider these guidelines.
Know the risk factors for the virus. This can help you make decisions on staffing, volunteers, and whether you will return sooner or later. For example, those with preexisting conditions and those over 65 years old are at a higher risk of experiencing worse symptoms than others if they contract the virus.
Poll your congregation on their expectations. Be in constant communication. Also know that there is no rush to return to the building. You can continue doing online services or drive-in church if your congregation is still experiencing anxiety and fear.
PREPARE YOUR CHURCH
SERVICE TIMES AND LOCATION
AMENITIES: COFFEE, BULLETINS, AND HAND SANITIZER
STAFF: GREETERS AND VOLUNTEERS
SUNDAY SCHOOL AND SMALL GROUPS
PRESCHOOL AND CHILDREN
CHOIRS, ORCHESTRAS, PRAISE TEAMS, BANDS, ETC.
Whether you are a ministry leader, pastoral leader, or lay professional we want to connect and collaborate with you. There are many ways to get connected, let's start by joining us on a Facebook Live Video (@atkog) every 4th Thursday of the month 9pm EST.
If you are a minister we just had our ministerial fellowship call and it was a good one. We talked about the latest techniques on staying connected to your local church and lead them through this pandemic. As well as an encouraging message from Bishop Ralph Lewis out of Atlanta , Georgia. To top it off a controversial topic, should pastors still hold church services during this pandemic?
And as a special gift I am including the call for you to enjoy. Please click the image to listen.
God is moving in the earth today as well as since the beginning of time, and you were created for such a time as this to advance His Kingdom here on earth.
Please visit our website www.atkofgod.com and connect with us there and register for our Kingdom Digest on the home page.
You Are A Chosen People..
1 Peter 2:9 New International Version (NIV)
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
This passage is so filled with truth that it’s hard to gather it into a short devotional. Peter uses wording from Exodus 19:5–6, where God told the children of Israel, “if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”
But in this New Testament book, written to a primarily Gentile audience, Peter applies it to those “who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” Peter is making it clear that Gentile believers are also God’s chosen race during this age—the time of the Gentiles. We as believers, Jew or Gentile, enjoy a special relationship with God. We are “His own special people.” And as such, we have the great honor of praising Him here on earth and on into eternity. We have been delivered from a spiritual darkness of ignorance, error, sin, and misery; and now, though His mercy given to us, we walk in His marvelous light. Wow!
Dr. Roy J. Plunkett invented Teflon, the coating found on nonstick pans, somewhat by chance in 1938. According to the “History of Teflon,” the material turned out to “be inert to virtually all chemicals” and “the most slippery material in existence.”1 Teflon is so slippery that virtually nothing sticks to it or is absorbed by it. Perhaps it is a stretch, but it seems that Teflon could be seen as an illustration of the Holy Spirit’s effect on sin in a believer’s life. Yes, certainly we can and do occasionally fall into sin, but His presence and control over our lives gives us a stick-free surface. Through humble repentance we can be kept free from contamination. Is that something we somehow earned? No. Peter says we are the people of God who “now have obtained mercy.”
“Thank you, LORD, for Your mercy that can keep us cleansed through humble repentance. Mercy, mercy, mercy is what we need again today.”
Thank you Kingdom Ambassadors for joining us today. Today we are in an unprecedented time of culture change, world change and feeling closer more than ever. The COVID-19 Pandemic has truly put everyone in a unique state of living, whether it is social distancing, stay at home orders, deaths at an alarming rate, etc.
We as the body of Christ have a great opportunity right at our finger tips, now is the time to harvest. There are many changes day by day and hour by hour happening and because we have hope we are in a prime position to bring the kingdom of God here to earth.
How do we continue to engage our Community and be social distanced? There are many creative ways to do this and here are some idea to prompt a deeper discussion.
1. Social Media - post often and ask questions to get feedback, create groups specific to your city, hobby etc.
2. Walk - if you can walk around your dwelling place do this and wave, say hi, offer assistance, ask to pray for a specific need.
3. Personal Notes - This may or not be done through USPS, but it can be done through a text message, prayer chain of authentic asking, Facebook Messenger send an audio chat or video chat.
4. Serve - If there is a possibility to be safe and serve, please do; reach out to your non profits providing services currently or your schools if passing out supplies, food, water etc.
These are really just some ideas and some I have taken advantage of, please share your's and we can be the body of Christ together.
Blessings- Pastor Milton
Now is the time to focus on the family. With quarantine's in effect or happing in America and parts of the world. The word of God is best lived by incubating in the home, where it can be lived out in a real and tangible way. Overseer Williams shares some insights into God's Word pertaining to the family unit. Please listen to this call and take notes.
Blessings- CTN/ATK Family
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