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Author: Jenni Catron

December Devotion: Patience

Take a little break these days in December and re-center yourself with these devotions from the Sunday| Mag contributors. “Jennifer, you have to learn to be more patient.” My dad’s words still ring in my ears. The circumstances were pretty ordinary. My dad, my sister, and I were in his truck driving the familiar 45-mile stretch of highway between my parents’ homes. As a divorced family we shuffled back and forth every other weekend. It was our routine and I knew it well, but it didn’t mean that I liked it. I’m sure I was complaining about how long...

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The Warning Signs of Burnout

It was almost unbearable to go back. As we approached the yellow caution tape outlining the charred remains of what was my sister’s apartment building, it was clear nothing recognizable was left. The previous day we had watched in horror as the flames raced through her home destroying her dearest possessions. The firefighters could not keep pace with the out-of-control blaze. A small spark sabotaged a seemingly ordinary day and within hours everything was destroyed. Burnout for church leaders conjures up a similarly ominous feeling. We don’t begin ministry with the expectation of burning out. We are confident we...

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Jenni Catron: My One Thing

For this month’s Sunday| Mag articles, we asked some of our favorite writers this one question: What’s one thing you’ve been learning all year long that you’d like to share with Sunday| Mag’s readers? In this article, Jenni Catron talks about the different seasons we experience as leaders and letting go of seasons and embracing others. The seasons were fierce where I grew up in Northern Wisconsin. Summers were warm, humid, and mosquito-infested, but they too quickly gave way to the crisp air and vibrant colors of frostbitten trees. Winter was not subtle with its arrival. Months of snow-covered landscape fought...

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This Leader Encouraged Her Team to Fail

Dread. It’s the sick, hollow feeling deep in your gut that makes you believe your insides are trying to eat their way out. Dread is exactly what Cindy was feeling as she walked into her manager’s office Monday morning. She had been trying all weekend to figure out how to explain the circumstance to Natalie. She knew this new ministry initiative was risky but she didn’t expect it to fail quite as miserably as it had. Today was the day she was going to have to explain what went wrong… an explanation that she was not looking forward to....

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Turning Off the Critic

Another Sunday in the books. Four services, thousands of attendees, hundreds of volunteers, even a dozen commitments for Christ, and yet I couldn’t shake this gnawing sense of dissatisfaction. In fact, this aching feeling was becoming common every Sunday night as I drove home tired and spent. For all the effort and all the good, it still felt not quite good enough. For all of our great planning and preparation there were still problems. For all of our good communication, volunteers still didn’t always show up. For all of our backup measures, systems still failed in the moments they...

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The Death Grip of Control

There is something special about the feeling of ownership. I vividly remember pulling away from the car lot the day I bought my first car—a 1992 maroon Saturn SL1. I saved diligently for that car, and I felt pride in knowing that it was all mine. I didn’t even care that it lacked air-conditioning, although I was headed to the triple-digit temperatures of Nashville, Tennessee in the dead of summer. It was mine. That was all that mattered. I experienced the same exhilarating feeling when my husband and I purchased our first home. There was no end to the...

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Against Your Nature

We had reached a stalemate. As I looked around the room at my team, I was staring into the faces of incredibly strong-willed and passionate individuals who were not going to budge on their opinion. I was convinced they were wrong. They were convinced they were right. Everything in me wanted to play the trump card; I was the boss. I could settle this. With one statement I could make the decision and move us along. But in a rare moment of maturity I knew that my pride just wanted to win. Sometimes it’s pride. Sometimes it’s fear. Maybe...

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Dealing with Immaturity

When I get exasperated, I ramble. This particular day I was rambling to my counselor about the frustration I was feeling with my own growth challenges. After patiently waiting for me to finish my blathering, she shared a concept that I had never considered – emotional maturity doesn’t necessarily parallel our physical maturity. Perhaps that should have been obvious, but like many others I had made a false assumption that we naturally grow in emotional maturity, as we get older. My counselor proceeded to explain that while our bodies naturally grow into adulthood, our emotions could stay trapped in...

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Dealing with Adversaries

Do you ever feel like you’re a magnet for naysayers? It doesn’t matter how well a Sunday service goes or how effective your latest ministry event was, there always seems to be at least one critic who has questions or complaints. In fact, you probably can instantly create a mental list of the people who never seem to be happy with what your church or ministry is doing. Our ministry philosophy at Cross Point is very simple and straightforward. Outside of Sunday mornings, we do three main things – kids and students, community groups, and missions. We believe this...

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Embracing Short Term Problems

If you’ve been a leader for long, you’ve likely encountered a situation where your valiant attempts at delegation backfired on you. As you abandon your priorities in order to clean up the mess that was left behind, you can’t help but wonder, “Is it worth it?” You’ve heard all the great speeches about empowering others. You know the all-too-familiar cliché, “You have to give up to go up.” But no one really tells you how to handle it when delegation results in failure. How do you handle when those you lead make mistakes? What mistakes are necessary and good...

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Making Volunteers Feel Valuable

As a little girl, my church was the incubator in which I first developed my leadership muscles. I braved the stage to sing “special music”. I gave my first piano recital. I single-handedly created the summer VBS program. I spoke to our high school youth group, and I led my peers in the annual candy bar fundraiser.  If it wasn’t for the church, I’m not certain my leadership gifts would have had the opportunities to develop as early as they did. Ministry leaders are entrusted with a very unique opportunity – the opportunity to identify and develop the giftedness...

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The Volunteer Communication Gap

With tears in her eyes and a quiver in her voice, she pleaded for my help. Sally was new to our church and was desperately trying to find her place. She had moved to Nashville all alone – not knowing a single person – to pursue her dream job for a company that abruptly downsized and dismissed her just six short months after her arrival in music city. While she had been attending the church for much of that time, she was still just one of the crowd. She hadn’t found a place to serve and where she could...

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