Learning to Flourish in Ministry & Life : Chip Ingram
As pastors and ministry leaders, what do we do when we find ourselves in a season where we’re out of rhythm or feeling like we’re burning out? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Chip Ingram, CEO and teaching pastor of Living On the Edge. Chip’s teachings are received by millions of people around the world through television, radio and digital platforms. Chip has written over a dozen books, and has served for four decades in ministry, pastoring churches ranging in size from a few dozen to several thousand. Chip shares from his own ministry experiences those times when he felt he was imbalanced, out of rhythm, and sort of burning out. Chip also shares practices that he has incorporated into his life to help him grow in deeper connection with God and to create a healthy, sustainable rhythm for his ministry and his life.
Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!
- Video links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Audio links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Additional resource links from this week’s conversation – so you and your team can easily find what is mentioned or referenced
- Ministry Leaders Growth Guide – key insights and concepts from this week’s conversation as well as engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process
- Full-text transcript of this week’s episode – review something you heard, pass along snippets, post tweets, create presentations to share, or use in whatever way you find most helpful in developing your ministry leaders
- Shareable Social Graphics – Feel free to post them on your church social accounts, your personal accounts, or use them as graphics in your communications
Share the video with your ministry leaders >> YouTube
Share the audio podcast with your ministry leaders…
Additional Resource Links
Living on the Edge – Established in 1995 as the radio ministry of pastor and author Chip Ingram, God has since grown it into an international discipleship ministry. Living on the Edge provides Biblical teaching and discipleship resources that challenge and equip spiritually hungry Christians all over the world to become mature disciples of Jesus.
Daily Discipleship with Chip – The free discipling resource Chip mentioned in this episode
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or just want to talk? Complimentary Coaching Session for Pastors http://PastorServe.org/freesession
Ministry Leaders Growth Guide
Key Insights and Concepts
- Burnout can be spurred on by external factors but typically internal factors are most responsible for feelings of burnout
- An unhealthy view of God, work, and/or ministry can lead to personal crisis
- As a ministry leader it is possible to do a lot of positive work for the Kingdom while simultaneously overworking yourself and neglecting the care of your soul
- Taking time to truly unplug and step away from the busyness of ministry is vital to adequately assess how life and ministry are really going. This is incredibly difficult to do without taking intentional time to pause and reflect outside of the regular rhythm of ministry and life.
- Investing in our family relationships must be a priority to experience a healthy life and ministry. Our families cannot just get our leftover energy and time.
- Although we might be able to accomplish much, it is not always healthy to accomplish it all. Understanding our limits and then setting boundaries to protect our emotional, relational, mental, physical, and spiritual health are necessary if we are to serve effectively in the long term.
- Oftentimes we are putting the majority of the pressure on ourselves, and we must recognize that so we can adjust accordingly
- At times we may find ourselves in an unhealthy ministry position where a small minority in the church are trying to exert control. We must be willing to prayerfully and compassionately honor how God is leading us, not those who are trying to exert control.
- A helpful set of practices to stay in a healthy rhythm is based on the acronym BIO: BEFORE God daily, IN community weekly, and ON mission 24/7
- Mentors are vital to the life of a minister. Trusted people that you can share with, learn from, and lean on.
- Planning consistent rhythms for rest and growth is critical for every ministry leader. Daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual times to unplug and rest need to be put on every leader’s calendar.
- Every ministry leader must be teachable and must look for ways to grow and develop
- Having a healthy release, whether that is a sport, an artistic hobby, or another productive past time is important to maintain a healthy balance in your life
- Just because things do not turn out well or the way we had hoped does not mean we are not in the center of God’s will, so be faithful to what God has called you to
- Your life stewardship is too important to spend time fighting over non-essentials
- Have the courage to do what God desires you to do
Questions for Reflection
- What external factors are impacting my feelings about life and ministry right now? What internal factors are impacting them?
- Do I have a healthy view of ministry? Of God? Of work? Why or why not?
- Am I busy doing Kingdom “stuff” but missing out on what God wants to do in my soul? If so, what changes do I need to make?
- When was the last time I truly unplugged and assessed my life and ministry? If it has been awhile, when will I plan on doing this?
- How am I prioritizing my family relationships? Do I need to make changes in this area?
- Who are the mentors in my life? If I do not have any, who will I ask to begin a mentoring relationship?
- What is my healthy release that helps me stay fresh and more balanced? Am I engaging in it regularly?
- Am I staying faithful to how God is leading me in ministry, or am I allowing others to exert control? How do I know? What will I do?
- Am I accomplishing too much in ministry, to the extent that I am setting myself up for burn out? Who is helping me maintain a healthy rhythm?
As pastors and ministry leaders, what do we do when we find ourselves in a season where we’re out of rhythm or feeling like we’re burning out?
In this episode I’m joined by Chip Ingram, CEO and teaching pastor of Living On the Edge. Chip’s teachings are received by millions of people around the world through television, radio and digital platforms. Chip has written over a dozen books, and has served for four decades in ministry, pastoring churches ranging in size from a few dozen to several thousand. Chip shares with us from his own ministry experiences those times when he felt he was imbalanced, out of rhythm, and sort of burning out. Chip shares practices that he has incorporated into his life to help him draw in deeper connection with God and to create a healthy, sustainable rhythm for his ministry and his life. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hello, friends, and welcome to another incredible episode of FrontStage. BackStage. I’m your host, Jason Daye, and it is my privilege each week to have the opportunity to sit down with a trusted ministry leader, and have a conversation all in an effort to help you, and pastors and ministry leaders just like you, embrace healthy, sustainable rhythm, both in life and in ministry. And we are proud to be a part of the PastorServe Network. And along with this episode, we actually create an entire toolkit that you can access at PastorServe.org/network. In that toolkit, there are lots of resources for you, including some key insights, and then a ministry leaders growth guide, which has questions for reflection that you and the ministry leaders at your local church can work through to dig more deeply into today’s conversation. Again, you can find that at PastorServe.org/network. And if you’re familiar with PastorServe, you know that we love pastors, we love just coming alongside of and encouraging pastors. And we are offering a complimentary coaching session for any pastor or ministry leader, and you can find more information about that at PastorServe.org/freesession. Now, if you’re joining us on YouTube, thank you for being with us, give us a thumbs up and, in the comments below, if you could just drop your name and the name of your church, we would love to get to know you better. And our team will be praying for you and for your ministry. And whether you are joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, please be sure to subscribe or follow so you do not miss out on any of these great conversations. As I said, we have a great conversation for you today. And at this time, I would like to welcome Chip Ingram to FrontStage BackStage. Welcome, Chip.
Jason, great to be with you. Thanks.
Yeah, brother, thank you so much for making the time to be with us. Now, Chip, you’ve been blessed to serve in ministry for a number of years. And you are, you’re currently modeling a really healthy rhythm for life and ministry. Many of us in ministry know the importance of a sustainable rhythm. Cognitively, we know the importance of caring for ourselves. Yet, as we all know, the pressures, the expectations, unexpected issues arise, all those things can kind of knock us out of that rhythm. Chip, I was wondering if you could share with us a little bit from from your experience, maybe about any seasons of imbalance or times when, when you might were feeling a little burned out even? And how you might have navigated through those times and what God really has taught you through those?
Well, I’ve had a number of those, and I’m sure what we’re doing here is fellow strugglers, you know, I think there’s some things we really do need to do. But I think we just need to be honest to say, one of the occupational hazards is stuff comes into your life, and three people get cancer and two marriages go down and the world pandemic happens. And so I think we need to be realistic. But you also really have to realize an awful lot of that burnout happens because of internal things. And you have to put up some structures and barriers over time. So get back to your question. You know, one thing you have to start doing is a little bit of research into your own sort of what made you the way you’re wired. So I was probably a workaholic by the time I was 12. And, you know, played two sports and was an RA and was a small little point guard. I guess I didn’t realize that I had my Fellowship of Christian Athletes shirt. I came to Christ through FCA right after I graduated from high school. But I think the, after all of that, the very first church, it was about 35 people, it was in a rural area, and the pressure I put on myself of expectations. So this isn’t like, you’re overwhelmed, and you know, like, we grew to 50 people, maybe in a year, and I was probably working 80 or 85 hours. When the phone rang, I jumped up, and I gotta meet this need, and I, you know, and then as a solo pastor, no help in terms of, and I ended up going to the doctor, got really sick, and he goes, I can’t find anything wrong, except your immune system. Your man, could you just tell me a little bit about your life. And he wasn’t, uh, wasn’t necessarily a Christian. And I, he, my wife sat next to me because she was very concerned. I mean, the symptoms were kind of scary. And he goes, in as nice a way, you’re really stupid. Because, you know, and it’s not like, you know, we think, oh, that pastor of five or 10,000, or whatever, and, you know, I guess they’re traveling the world. And I can see, I mean, we’ve got 50 people, maybe. And so what I learned out of that was I have limits, that I am an overwhelming people pleaser, that I I had deep, deep insecurities. And I really recognized those, those are the things that were driving my workaholism. And I really had to go into training, find my identity in Christ, all the things people know the right answers to. But that was the first time as a pastor, I had a similar experience when I was a teacher and a basketball coach, and as a lay person led a college ministry. And although I had the same symptoms, I was driving one day and I couldn’t move my neck either way. And I woke up. I woke up as though I’d been swimming with sweat. And it just my body had was shutting down because it was you know, till midnight up at 4am, legalism, pray for an hour, then have your quiet time. You know, it was just a warped view of God, a warped view of work, warped view of ministry. I was there eight years and those elders and that little church grew and they taught me how to be a pastor. And I think the next major time was, I was in Santa Cruz, and for me, it was a really, really sort of bizarre environment. So they think Berkeley is like too far right? So Pride Parade, multiple satanic bookstores. And, and yet, because of our brokenness, my wife and I from alcoholic families, just kind of being who we are, we have no explanation, Jason, 1000s of people showed up, right. And I remember sitting in an elders meeting. And, you know, we were doing five services with video overflow and portables. And, and one of them said, we need to have a capital campaign, we need some room. And I remember thinking, I raised my hand and says, What is a capital campaign? I never heard, you know, I didn’t know. And, and every time because God was moving, we would open a service, and within two or three weeks, that little place of you know, 400 450 would just fill up again. And I felt like, well, if it had that, then I couldn’t not stop that, and didn’t have a very large staff, maybe there was four of us. And I would share the gospel and like people would line up, you know, I was on heroin, I’m coming out of this lifestyle. Jesus is the answer. And I literally had a stack of gospel of John’s behind the pulpit. And after I’d given invitation, I would just “read these and come back next week.” And so all the, you know, all the pressures of growth, the pressures, you know, I had four kids, they were all growing up. We’ll talk a little bit about some things I think I did right during that time. Because of our family background, quick aside, we ate together as a family. I may have worked like crazy, but I was up at 4am but we ate dinner and when I got home after dinner,I didn’t open my briefcase, I realized I need to be a dad. But my fault was I always pushed my body a bit too far. But to press on to this because this was a turning point in my whole life. And by now you know I’m I’m a pretty disciplined person. So my time with God was, I did not mess with that. A date with my wife, eating with my family. Those things were in place, but the waves of, it was just over whelming. So I got in a season where I did two Saturday night services, and three Sunday morning services, along with a staff that was growing and all the needs. And I did this for months. And I remember, after a couple of months that after I got done on Sunday, I’d usually go get a good workout, play basketball with my kids and stuff and get sweaty. But I would be numb and not feel anything until Thursday. And I would start to unthaw. And then Friday was like an absolute I did take one day off. And then Saturday, you know, get up super early play with the kids, two services. And I remember my wife, it was a season where two or three very national, people we really respected, loved, God used in our lives, fell morally, and my wife turned to me and she goes, you know, Chip. You’re a man, maybe you can understand this. How can they love God, teach God’s word and shipwreck? I’m sorry, honey, I can’t get it. And I share that because this was the age where people were just learning to take study breaks, I’d never heard of one of those and famous pastors were taking study breaks. So I thought, Man, I need one of those. So for the first time, after, like five years, I’ve never been off more than about a week and a half, maybe, a two week vacation was unheard of. And so I two weeks of vacation, and two weeks to study. And, you know, we had great people come in, you know, who were filling in. And I went up to a cabin that a friend had, I remember sitting out in one of those porches overlooking this lake near Tahoe. And I looked over at my wife, and I realized, this is after months of five services and all the rest. And it scared me to death because I didn’t feel anything for her and I didn’t feel anything for God. And my emotions were just numb. And I, you know, I’m an old ex-athlete. And so it was like, you know, you know, I was kind of, I played basketball at college and overseas and, you know, just grind it out, you know, I had grounded out to the point where I didn’t feel anything. And I remember sitting looking out over that lake and thinking, I know exactly why people that I really respect. I just want to feel something. And and I just want some relief. And, and I and your thinking gets so weird, like you’re blaming God for blessing. You’re not Why did you bring all this on me all, you know, and, and what I realized, I remember going to a little coffee shop and just telling the Lord. I don’t need to feel you for you to be real. I think what’s happened is I’ve burned my antenna. And, and so I need repaired. So I’m going to, I got up every morning in the Psalms, and if it said, any place where it said “his unfailing love,” I would underline it. And I still remember it was like day 13 I had the first flicker of any emotional connection with the Lord again. And and I remember that break. And and then I called a couple older pastors and said, This is new for me. God’s obviously blessing. I at least used to love what I get to do. And they gave me some very wise counsel. One older pastor said, If you could tweak your way out of this, Chip, you know, you may not be the smartest guy in the world, but you’re not the dumbest, you would have figured it out by now. It will require radical change, you’re gonna have to make dramatic steps. And I remember going back to an elders meeting and saying, number one, I don’t know anything about capital campaigns. And I can’t handle that, with everything else. In fact, you know, maybe maybe a little too vulnerable. I’ll never forget I was I was they asked me How are you really doing? And I started saying, you know, fine, and kind of okay, and I was so fragile. That no, and one one of the elders, said, no, no, a young guy. How are you really doing? I started bawling. I’m in an elders meeting. I’m like, Oh my gosh, they’re gonna fire me. You know, these are great guys. And we’re great brothers. And I just, I just something broke and they got around me and laid their hands on me and prayed for me. And it was so good, because that young guy was a construction guy goes Hey, guys, we’re killing our pastor. I’ve done capital campaigns. Chip, I’ll keep you informed. I’ll own this. And then it was, Guys, I can do three. All right, we can do ten, we can do, you know, ten weekend services if you want to, but my limit is three. And the other thing that happened was it was, okay, I gotta stay refreshed. I need a break every so often. Our church, this is maybe more than you want, but we had like Luis Palau, and now these are all non-believers. They’re all first generation Christians, all these people who came, they never heard of Luis Palau, right. So I mean, I’ve got all these famous, great people. And the first week, I’m gone 500 less peopl. Next week, 800 less people, you know. And so after four weeks, I realized, wow, I’m feeling all this pressure. But this church has now created this unhealthy deal. And so I came back. And, and again, it’s a very non-religious. So you know, I didn’t have like, someone looking over my shoulder, and I got a stool out. And it became what I called family time. And so, you know, we did the worship and all that I said, you know, I’m gonna teach here, just a minute, I got a stool, and I stuck it out and said, We’re gonna have a little family time is at my house when my kids start disobeying and I’m not that discipline dad, and all that, we all sit on the floor, we get in a circle and say, Okay, we got to, we got to realign. And I just said, I, you know, I love you, but I’ve never been more disappointed in you as a church ever. I’m gone for four weeks and you people only show up when I’m here. And I said, that puts me in a position where the only way is this. And it puts you in a position of depending on me, in fact, it was a church where I followed, where two of the pastors fell in immorality and the thing blew apart. And so I said, here’s what you need to understand. I met with the elders, and we’re going to go to a teaching team. And I’m not going to advertise who is teaching. I guarantee I’ll be morally responsible, you will hear God’s word, clearly, effectively, practically, theologically sound, and it’s helpful. And we’re committed to teaching God’s word. But if it has to come through my personality, and that’s the only one you like, then you ought to pray about going to another church, because we’re not doing that here. Two things happened. One, I finally set some limits. Two, looking back, you know, I was an old coach. So actually, helping guys learn to preach was as much fun just about as preaching and they all ended up coming senior pastors eight years later. And, and so the other was, it was like, okay, teach four or five, five part series and take a week or two off, get other people involved. And so that began a rhythm that was sustainable. And then every time I did something really new, I found that I would bust it too hard. Have to learn. I didn’t learn it is badly. Okay. Right, right. But, but there were certain things I put into my life that have allowed me to over, I guess this is my 40th year as a pastor, in general, be pretty healthy and liked my job. And, and I don’t want… this is not like one of those cliches, but we just celebrated 44 years, and we’ve had to work hard. We’ve had to go to counseling from our family of origin, alcoholic backgrounds and stuff, but I’m, I’m more in love with my wife now than I’ve ever been. She’s more fun. I’ve got four grown kids that again, we all do the best we can. We’re not going to take all the blame for when they don’t walk with God, we certainly can’t take the credit. But we can create an environment and say, Lord, we, Oh please, of all the things you could give me. And by God’s grace, I have four kids that walk with God, married well, are raising their kids, overwhelmingly blessed. And so not, not that everything has been easy. But there’s a handful of things. We can talk about that I think, yeah, you got to face as a pastor if you’re going to be healthy. And I would just say, here’s the number one thing: by and large, the problem is not out there. By and large, the problem is here. You know, that I used to say, and this is a bad metaphor, especially in our world today, but I I’ll use it reluctantly. When you feel such overwhelming pressure, I asked myself, who has the gun that you’re holding to your head? And about 90% of it is you, right? And there’s other times where you’re in a very unhealthy situation. And you just got to ask yourself, Wait a second. You got to lead with courage. And one elder or two families can make your life miserable. And I’ve seen pastors live under some level of pressure, or you just need to look them in the eye and say, We’re not going to do it that way. Yeah, you know, and I mean, you gotta walk in integrity, get get good counsel out I mean, be harsh or autocratic, right. But, man, I think there’s I remember another time when that early church went from about 35 people to about 450, in a town of about 2500. Wow. And, and it was really exciting. But all along the way, this is what we want the church. And when we began to invite Black and Hispanic, and it was in the south, and oh, man, I got all this pushback. And I remember being called into Dallas, most of the leaders, you know, I thought they were rural people. Well, they lived in rural areas, one guy owned an insurance company and other guy two dealerships. And what I realized is very wealthy, powerful people moved outside of Dallas, and they wanted a church, like the really good churches there, but which was fine. But in their mind, this needs to work for us. And as we began reaching the community that look very much unlike them, both in ethnic and sociology, and this was in the early days, because the elders over the time were great and godly men, but I remember being called down for a lunch and, and, you know, when you walk into a room, and you realize a bunch of meetings happened before this one? Yeah. And, you know, it was like, you know, Chip, you know, we asked you to come here, and the church is growing, we really appreciate that. And, but, you know, we’ve talked, and it’s not that we are, you know, racist in any way, or contrary to, you know, black or Hispanic, but, you know, in light of where our church is at, and this and that, you know, we we really think you know, the direction you’re taking us and some of the people, that’s probably not going to be a good fit. And I remember sitting again, in that chair thinking, Well, I think this might be one of those crossroads. And and I remember, you know, just going, Okay, this is this is how you get fired. And I thought, Well, okay, I think that’s a good one. Don’t let money… you can’t stay in a ministry because the pressure of money and I don’t have another job, like, like the God that created the universe, can’t give you another job. He’s looking for men and women to step up. And I remember sitting there fearful, and saying, Well, gentlemen, if you’re asking me to help you create a church that works for you, where the Great Commission doesn’t matter and we don’t make disciples, and black and Hispanics, and some of the kids I’m bringing to church now, did I push maybe a little too fast? I’ll own that. But if you’re asking me to change focus to what Jesus called me to do, and us to do as a church, then I’m guessing you probably maybe need to have another meeting, where you decide you probably need a different pastor. And you know, as fearful as that was, it was amazing. Bam, it shut that, it shut that down and side sidebar. There was this is early on. And I remember praying very distinctly, Lord, move that guy out, Lord, move that guy out, that guy out, and took about three years. And not not bad people don’t get me wrong, right, right. But these were, these were leaders that their agenda was their picture, what the church ought to be that worked for them and their family and their preconceived ideas. And, you know, sometimes the greatest thing that can happen is people leave your church, or they get off the leadership board. And those, those are where I think pastors feel pressure. And so God answered those prayers. And yeah, the church ended up really, really flourishing, and they taught me to be a pastor. So anyway, I think those those are some of the things that… now I could, I’d love to say, those are all in the rearview mirror, right? We just went through a big growth spurt at Living on the Edge and a bunch of stuff happening internationally. And I’ve been on the road internationally, like crazy. And despite my, my youth and good looks, I’m really not. You know, I’m, I’m 68. And I feel like the demands are greater than ever before. I’ve done three international trips in the last, you know, like four months, and loving it. But I find myself and you know, left to myself, my default, right, so I got to get pulled back. And then we can talk about what kind of people and rhythms you need to have in your life. If people can say to you, hey Ingram, right? You’re being stupid again.
Right. Exactly. Exactly. Chip, whenever you, I’m curious, if you look back, whenever you took that time out, and you went up to the cabin overlooking Lake Tahoe. And you realized, you know, you unplugged enough to realize, I’m curious, do you think you would have recognized that if you had not taken time out?
I think I would have either… I would pray that I would have grounded out to the point that I would have had another physical crisis and ended up in the hospital instead of a moral or emotional or spiritual crisis. But no way. One of the things that one of the rhythms that I developed was, I do three, three messages. Now. And by the way, these are, please here, if you’re listening to us, this is not a prescription for you. This was my prescription for me, this was my world, my personality, my life, what the point of this discussion is, for those we are talking to you, what do they need to do? So, you know, okay. So for me, but for me, it was, I would never, I would never preach more than six weeks in a row. Because, and, you know, because I was doing at least three services. And the other guys, I wanted them to be in the rhythm, I always plan three times a year to get away with my wife, even if it was only overnight. And I make basically made it two out of three. I got rigorous about a day off on Friday, that at least I could get my head above water. And then during that really growing season after that, every six weeks, maybe seven at the most, and it was only an all day and all night and all the next day, but I would take my Bible and we live near the mountains and either go to a monastery or in worst case scenario, a hotel where no one’s at, and just get two full days and one night alone with my journal, and, and you know, it’s like that passage, you know, in Mark one where Jesus awakens a great while before dawn, after his most busy day in ministry, and they come in, they say to him, you know, Hey, man, you gotta get going, you’re, you’re a rock star, it’s going great. And, and I believe he went out to go back to the Father to say, I gotta get realigned about why that I came. And then he uses that, you know, for fellow pastors, you know, uses that, that day of necessity, I must go to other places. And for me, it was processing. Sometimes I was so exhausted that when I when I landed there, I’m not I don’t take naps, but I find myself fall asleep for an hour or two, study the Scriptures, read, take a walk, but just completely decompress, listen to the Lord. And then I’m a verbal processor. I don’t think journals are for everybody. But I lie to myself. So one of the things I’ve been pretty consistent is I write, I write things down. And when I feel pressure, I put a little box and I’ll take the pressure, and I’ll turn it into a prayer request. And so when I would go, then I would look back over the last six weeks, you know, you know, you need to spend more time with Teresa, you need to spend more time with Teresa, you need spend more time with Teresa? Well, I’ve been writing that down for six or eight weeks. But I you know, I think there’s a message here. And similarly, one of my patterns was at near the end of the year, is I actually would go back and I’d read through that last year. And this is here’s where God’s been at work. And, and here’s an I don’t want to be negative, here’s some things that he spoke to me. I took some steps. Yeah, I’m, you know, I’m making progress. Thank you, Lord. And here’s some things that, you know, seem to be reoccurring, that I need to pay attention to. And so I developed this would be my daily rhythm. This would be my weekly rhythm. This is kind of what I did every month or six weeks. And then here I actually got to where I didn’t always get a month but I would have a study break. I did take vacation. I got away we five out of seven nights it may sound crazy. We ate as a family, it’s probably the most important discipleship that we did. And yes, I if you if you’re picturing me, you know as everyone’s eating with open Bible, okay, now my children, here’s how it goes, I was much we Yes, we were. We were in the scriptures, but it was much more conversation, praying, sharing. And then by the time they were 10, they were kind of learning to meet with God on their own. And so we did informal and formal times. But what I think it was an intentionality. Right, what I realized was, I can’t let youth sports, ministry, demands have us be some sort of a minivan family filled with activities that I’m gonna look up and go like, wow, okay, you gotta seek the 1000s of dollars and hundreds of hours later, he got a lacrosse scholarship for $1,500 a year.
Right, right, right. Yeah.
You know, was that really about my son or daughter? Or was that? You know, so I took us off the path. But
No, no, that’s good. That’s helpful. I love that because you’ve shared chip, some of the practices, some of the rhythms that you’ve incorporated, you know, time away, you know, date night with Teresa spending time with the kids. What are some of the other practices that have served you well over the years?
I think, three, three things, I feel like at the end of the day, what I realize is, it’s not just being moral or good or being on track, it’s life. Not, if I’m not experiencing the life of Christ, I’m missing it. And so the little acronym that developed over time was BIO for life. And so what I knew was, I need to come BEFORE God daily. I need to do life, the I is for IN community weekly, and the O is ON mission 24/7. And so just just this sense that if Jesus couldn’t do anything apart from the Father, sometimes I feel like it, sometimes I don’t, you know, there’s young pastors and older pastors, what I realized was, for me, I’m gonna get up early, I’m gonna get a great cup of coffee, I’m gonna go out and look at the stars and remember who I’m talking to. And then I’m going to spend time in God’s word every day, and be as honest with him and talk to him. And, and I’m gonna then try and practice the presence of God, I’m going to, all throughout the day. I’m going to, I’ve got to have, whether it’s two or three guys, or whether it’s a couple of Bibles, depending on my season, I’ve got to have some people that they can give a rip what I do, they love me, I can share where I’m struggling with lust, or finances, or struggles or resentment, and I’m all in for them, and they’re all in for me. And it’s not just during a crisis, but they’re, they’re, they’re, we’re in this together. So when I make the phone call, or when I one buddy, I get a text at 5:15am gotta meet you at Pete’s, man, get down here, and let’s get a cup of coffee, I’m hurting, you know, and I’m okay, you know. And the next week, it might be 6:03 Hey… I just think you have to have that and, and then the third is to be on mission, to realize, when I wake up, I’m to be the servant leader, my home, when I drive out of my driveway, at least where I live 9.7 people out of 10 don’t know Jesus. And it’s tragic, but I’m probably the only Christian they’ll ever meet. So, you know, and then so what are my gifts? And how do I stay in them? So those are that was the other I think, really big thing that’s helped me is I think being being teachable. So that always, I think it’s easy, you get into this, you give out, you give out, you give out, you give out. I probably listen to books and listen to other people’s sermons. And especially in my younger years, when I was trying to figure out my own voice, it would be I’d listen to this famous preacher and so Why is he so effective? It might be boy, he has passion. And this guy, he simplifies things. And it was Haddon Robinson, those are the greatest introductions I’ve ever heard or that guy mantle, were just to get time to do that level of depths of study. But I was, you know, it was I was, you know, I felt like I got to be learning and reading. And then in the early church, a guy named Bill that was an older guy that came alongside and discipled me and mentored me. Then there was AC in Texas when I was 28. And we probably text, this is 40 years later, we text, call, connect, every week. He’s still my mentor, he’s become like a dad to me. There’s Dick that when I found myself in this church and exploding, and I don’t know what I’m doing, and he ran a big company, and, you know, he had grown kids who were about my age. And my goal was to get my outline done by Thursday, you know, so I get my Friday off. And if I got the basic outline done at 6am, I can meet him at a little golf course, we could play nine holes, and the first three would debrief on life. The next three, I would, I would give him my sermon, get what he thought, and the last three, you know, he’d make observations, we’d talk about leadership in the church, we’d eat breakfast together and you know, by eight o’clock I was back at… You know, but I mean, that was, you know, Dick is in my life today. So, you know, I think having and that, the thing is, it takes time, and the reason we get burned out, is that we automatically think when we’re not giving out, are the expectations of people. And you got to balance kind of balance that out. And, and so I think a big one for me, it was great because I loved it, was I played basketball in college and then coached. I mean, I’m a gym rat. I mean, if when I have the ball in the middle, on the break, and whether it’s a chainlink fence in the inner city or at some college because I keep my kept my bag with me all the time, I wasn’t thinking about church, I got a sweaty as I could be. And I was in a world that there’s a culture if you grow up like that, and no one knew I was a pastor. I did that a couple times a week, my wife would say, when you were younger, a couple times a week? Yeah, right. Yeah. But those also became my best buddies. And so I combined deep friendships with working out regularly. But it was just like, oh, oh, it just, you got to have something that’s fun. And yeah, and I’m not very good at that.
Yeah, no, I think is important, Chip, to have that kind of release, right, that outlet where you can… especially if it’s, you know, for some people it may be physical for some people it might be more creative, you know, maybe something in the arts, whatever it is, but someplace where you can just kind of be, you know, you know, take off the hat of the pastor, you know, and just be yourself. In that way, Chip, as we’re kind of winding down. This has been fantastic. Thank you for just opening your heart up and sharing, you know, what God, how God has led you, you know, I appreciate your vulnerability. That’s helpful for all of us. But as we’re winding this conversation down, I wanted to give you an opportunity, brothers and sisters, pastors and ministry leaders watching along, just words of encouragement, because the last few years have been challenging. You know, culture, society is changing rapidly. Just some words of encouragement.
Yeah. Here’s what I’d say first and foremost is don’t quit. It’s really, really hard. Part of our American Christianity is the unconscious if we do these things, right, and we’re faithful to the Lord, then our circumstances in our life are going to turn out pretty well. And I always go back to those, you know, 11 of the 12 disciples, I kind of think they were in God’s will, and 11 of them get martyred, and one ends up on a rock to write a book. And, and just to recognize, hang in there, be faithful, refuse to let the mask versus no mask, the red state versus blue state, the vaccine versus non vaccine. And make Jesus bigger than all of that, and realize at the end of the day that be faithful to the Lord. It has never, I don’t think, been harder. But here’s a word of encouragement. I don’t think in the last 100 years, we’ve had an opportunity to completely redo church. People aren’t coming back. Some are, there’s never been a time where you could stop and say, you know, something? What was it about how the way it used to be, that really wasn’t producing mature disciples that were reaching people? You know what, I’m not gonna do that anymore. I mean, there’s never been a better time to make some radical changes. And I don’t mean this in a in a bad way. And take this very carefully. There’s some of you that have been in situations, the sideway energy, where you are, they don’t want to go anywhere. They haven’t been anywhere, they don’t want to go anywhere. And at some point in time, you need to take some steps of courage to say, this is what we’re going to do. And if you don’t want to go, to really make a difference, I totally understand. But my life stewardship is too important to spend my time fighting over non-essentials. And I know it’s scary and risky, but start praying, if that’s not the right place for you, where is the right place for you? And again, I’m not trying some mass exodus, you persevere, you hang in there. And I would just say too, I think the hardest thing for me has been the courage to do what God wants me to do. It just the fear of man is a snare, but blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. And I go back to all the crossroads, and I never hand I mean, I’m in one right now thinking about Lord, I think this is really what we’re going to do, but oh brother, you know, I’m scared. And so I think leadership really is about courage. And and some of you as you hear me talk, you just just pause David said, if your word had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. God really wants to help you. But maybe your antennas built, this blocking off some time and creating some structure where what goes into your mind, and you know what you’re eating, and just just just just pause and kind of look at you, you are and I am reaping sort of the mental, the physical diet that we put in. And it’s been hard. And it’s been so hard, I think some of us and we started went through the season in the COVID, where, you know, I didn’t want to work out and didn’t feel like doing this, I gained about 10 pounds, I got discouraged. And it just I just had to sort of like, slam on the brakes and say, Ingram, you know, something, stop whining, stop complaining, stop focusing outwardly look up, find a couple people that are willing to, you know, run in a positive way, and develop. let’s get back to some of those structures that bring health and life. And, and just that you can’t do that alone. You got to, you can’t ask your husband, if you’re a staff member or a pastor or your wife to make that happen for you. We all have to say, I’ve got to I’ve got to own that.
Yeah. That’s good, brother. Chip, love it. Thank you again, for making time for us. Real quickly, as you’re taking off, tell people about Living on the Edge. You know, because you have so many resources, I mean, unbelievable resources around the world, as you said, so let them know how they can connect with those resources. And what are some cool things you have going right now
You bet I you know, those things that BIO, we try and create resources to help people come before God We have 25 kind of different kinds of small groups do life in community, how to discover your gifts, be on mission. And then for those of you who are pastors, we have resources to help the people in your church. So we teach the multitudes, we train small groups, we have tools for pastors and business leaders. And our goal is to help Christians live like Christians. And another way to say make disciples who make disciples. So Living on the Edge of one big word.org. Livingontheedge.org is the website. And probably the most exciting thing during COVID we did was we have an app, it’s just my name, Chip Ingram. And I did these little, never talked more than eight or nine minutes, and then I gave people 10 minutes, and I taught people how to hear God’s voice and study the Bible for themselves. And it literally went viral with, you know, a few 100,000 people joining me, but what was exciting was not, I didn’t hear, Oh, you’re a wonderful teacher, it was: I didn’t know I could understand the Bible for myself. And for those of you I mean, it’s, you know, it’s like, you know, observation, interpretation. application. I mean, you know, wasn’t rocket science. But I also just tried to make it real simple. And help them learn to do it. And I said, if you’ll stay with me for 15 days, and you build this practice, and so that’s, you know, when you want to disciple people to be able to say, this guy will meet with you personally, it’s not teaching a group, I mean, with one person, but obviously, there’s more than one person watching. So anyway, those are the, it’s called Daily Discipleship with Chip. We did it as an experiment. And I think there’s, and it’s all core passages that Ephesians 4, Ephesians 1 – 3, Romans 12, James. It’s basic stuff, you want all the people in your church to start to grow on their own. So that’s Living on the Edge. Thanks, man.
What a great resource. Chip, thank you, again for being here. And for those watching long listening along. We’ll have links to Living on the Edge. And there’s resources at PastorServe.org/network, so be sure to check that out. Brother, I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you, for your heart for the Church, for pastors, and most of all, your heart for Christ. It’s so evident. Amen. All right. God bless you, my friend.
Thank you, Jason.
Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.
Shareable Social Graphics
Strengthen Your Church
Strengthening your church, for us, begins by serving you, the pastor!