It is Day #9 of the Blog Tour highlighting Craig Groeschel's newest book, IT: How Churches and Leaders Can Get IT and Keep IT, and today he's stopping by here. Makes me feel special, since he's stopped by the blogs of some VIP's like Dave Ferguson, Scott Hodge, Todd Rhoades and Tony Morgan.
I got the chance to ask Craig one question (okay, really it was two questions)...
Tim: First, I have to know, who’s the stud on page 106? I have to meet him! (Just kidding…). Seriously, you talk on page 163 about how you lost IT. You were 23 years old, and you said that focusing on your own performance didn’t leave you enough time to feed on God’s Word. Fast forward to today. Now you have responsibilities that are much bigger and demands on you that are much greater. How do you arrange your life now so that you can keep the priority of personal Bible reading and time with God?
Craig: First, that guy on page 106 is a body-double who sometimes works for you. (But I think you already knew that.) :)
Thanks for your great question. A lot of people ask me that. When I was much younger in ministry, I felt like a constant spiritual failure. I never wanted to go to those one-hour prayer meetings. I could barely pray for 5 minutes without my mind wandering. I also never got into reading classic devotionals. My wife loves them, as do tons of other people I know, but those kinds of things have always just seemed too “sappy” for me.
On top of that, prayer and Bible study started to feel like “work” to me. I prayed at the office. I studied the Bible for sermons at the office. At the end of my work day, I didn’t want to do anything that felt like work… including prayer and Bible study.
For a while, I tried to equate good morals with being close to God. Because I wasn’t committing the sins that would get a pastor fired, I assumed that I was relatively close to God.
The first thing I had to do was acknowledge that I had lost IT—that I was substituting ministry for my relationship with God. That could have become spiritually lethal. Just like a drug addict must always avoid drugs, I’m a ministry addict, and I must avoid allowing ministry to keep me from growing with Christ.
With more responsibilities, I have more potential distractions. I also have more motivation to stay close to the Vine. Here are a few things that have helped me:
- I had to give myself permission to relate to God in non-traditional ways. Instead of the one-hour prayer meeting, praying short bursts of prayers throughout the day works better for me.
- A one-year Bible regularly keeps me in God’s word for personal devotion, and not just message preparation.
- Closing the door to certain temptations and distractions has been life changing.
- Spiritual accountability from trusted friends is a non-negotiable for me.
Perhaps the most important things for me are honesty to admit when I’m drifting from God and the humility to ask for help from His people.
Thanks for all you do at Granger, Tim! I’m looking forward to hanging with you in November.