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The Importance of a Personal Support Team

(photo by Clearly Ambiguous)

I ran across a post on Scot McKnight‘s blog Jesus Creed by Father Rob Merola, an episcopal priest in Virginia. He shared his insights into being able to thrive as a pastor. He suggests that it is important for pastors to have a personal support team. For him, that is:

  • spiritual director to help spritual growth
  • mentor or coach to help vocational growth
  • counselor or therapist to stay mentally healthy
  • trusted friend to be completely honest with

He doesn’t give this list as prescriptive. He simply states that it is important not to do ministry alone and that it is not selfish to have this kind of team. On Father Rob’s blog, he does talk about how he found a coach without having to fork out major amounts of cash for one.

One of my favourite things that he says in his post is:

If you try and do it on your own, no matter how bright or clever or talented you may be, you’ll wear yourself out. You’ll be resentful of those who aren’t helping.

How many times have I been resentful of people not helping? Wow! This made me think that maybe it’s more my fault and not the people who aren’t involved.

I’ve heard a lot of talk about empowering people to do the work of ministry and the importance of not “doing it all.” There wasn’t much in the way of how to do that. I’m encouraged at seeing more of the how to empower people to do ministry, especially volunteers. But add to that building a personal support team… wow, I can only imagine what that would do for my growth and Kingdom impact. I’ve heard Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, talk about having a personal board of directors and thought it was a great idea but didn’t really know how it translated into my context of being in vocational ministry… this idea of a personal support team gives me better context.

As I look at the people around me, I do have a personal support team. I have a couple of friends I am honest with. I have some peers in ministry that keep me sharp and growing. I have those who I consider mentors that I look to for growth. I think it’s the only way I’ve been able to stay sane. I am challenged, though, to see what might be missing in my support team. Where are some places that I haven’t thought about that need support?

How do you keep from “going it alone”?

One Response to “The Importance of a Personal Support Team”

  1. Lori Eilers June 3, 2008 at 7:10 am #

    Great thoughts and advice. I do have a couple people that fill this need in my life but this post makes me reevaluate and ask if maybe I need a couple more who fill different needs. I have some big decisions right now that I am seeking council for. It’s good to have people who are not a part of a situation to offer fresh eyes and ears and someone who really knows the Holy Spirit.

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