In between putting out brush fires, I read an interesting article today about dealing with ministry funk. The article is written by super popular and super hip pastor Steven Furtick (How cool is Steven Furtick? He’s so cool his church is named ‘Elevation’–yeah, he wants you to know you will never be as cool as he is). Furtick lists four ways to “Beat” ministry funk. They are
Don’t extrapolate your future based on your funk
Give yourself the advice you’d give someone else
Don’t justify your funk
Work, don’t worry.
These are fine suggestions, I guess. I mean, they sound rather sterile to me (except #3–that one sounds like the title of a Madonna song from the 1980’s). Actually, these suggestions sound like mega-church ministry solutions that are supposed to sound important and wise while at the same time using the edgy word “funk.” It smells market tested.
By way of contrast, let me share some better solutions. By better I mean solutions designed to make you feel better before the day is over.
#1–Talk to someone else who is smarter, wiser, and more experienced than you. This is so much better than ‘giving yourself the advice you’d give someone else.’ That’s a terrible idea. It is probably my own advice that helped land me in the funk to start with. By the way, if you don’t know someone older, wiser, and smarter then FIND SOMEONE!
#2–Shoot something (not someone–something, on a firing range, with ear muffs). I find that my .357 is a most grave and serious funk eliminator.
#3–Get the Led out. I love all kinds of different music but when I’m in a funk, I need some Led Zeppelin, Guns-N-Roses, Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones. For an added funk release–listen while taking a walk or working out. Music is an elixir for depression in general–even King David knew that–but it has a special power over funk. If you really want to go all out on this option, try listening to Funk Music while trying to get rid of the funk. We got the funk.
#4–Start something new. A funk, by definition is a kind of rut. The best way out of a rut is to do something new. Write a new article, start reading a new book, brainstorm about a new ministry, make a new friend—the possibilities are endless.
#5–Do something rebellious. I firmly believe every minister should have a personal little rebellious clone that helps him or her exercise autonomy. Now, be careful because this is not a condoning of sin, but of rebellion. I think this is why a lot of the pastors I know ride motorcycles. It is rebellion. Grow a beard. Grow a Grizzly Adams beard! Wear something different while preaching (two Sundays ago I wore a Hawaiian shirt with sports coat–I was awesome!) Just do something rebellious. It will help you feel better about yourself.
#6–I know this is radical, but pray. If you are in a funk–maybe it was sent by God. Maybe there is something you need to learn from the funk–something about yourself, your family, your ministry, or about who God is. It is a sin to believe you should always be happy and feel on top of the world. God never promised that. Learn from the dark times as well as the good times. Embrace the funk as a teacher.
NOTE: BE CAREFUL IF YOU SAY OUT LOUD THE WORDS “FURTICK” AND “FUNK”. YOU MIGHT EMBARRASS YOURSELF. JUST SAYIN.