Coffee cup“How are you doing? Really. How are you doing???” I still remember the day this happened about 7 years ago. I just stopped to buy a coffee at a friend’s coffee shop and was caught off guard by their question as I was paying for my coffee. I knew by the tone of the question, and by the fact that there wasn’t anyone else around, that they really wanted to know. Little did they know that I had just come from the hospital because my wife and I had just gone through our third miscarriage and no one else knew yet. I was trying to carry it on my own, but suddenly I felt that my friend actually cared about how I was doing and wasn’t just expecting the cordial “Fine. How are you?” response. It was such a powerful moment of vulnerability, brokenness, and pain encountering safety, compassion, and prayer. I can’t fully convey with words what those few minutes meant to me. I realize that many pivotal moments in my walk with God have come about because people have taken the time to ask me “How are you doing? Really…”

When was the last time someone asked you how you were really doing? Spiritually? Emotionally? Relationally? As pastors and leaders we can sometimes find ourselves so focused on counseling and encouraging others in their spiritual journey that our own lives fall into spiritual ruts. Sometimes all it takes to help us along is someone willing to ask that simple question. Who do you have in your life who is asking you that question? I love how as a family of ministers and ministries we do have people around us who are willing to have those conversations! We all need people in our lives to help encourage us along the way when we get stuck. Maybe they’re encouraging us by helping us find a new perspective, like what Daryl Merrill wrote on his blog last week. Or maybe it’s by helping us find “True North” in our lives like Tom Oestreich wrote on his blog the other day. Or maybe it’s by sharing and praying with each other at a regional leadership connection or by calling us regularly or praying for us.

There are many different ways that we can help each other on our spiritual journeys as ministers, but ultimately it comes down to being willing to share our lives with those in ministry around us when they do ask and by asking others how they are doing in their lives and ministries. I encourage you to connect with other ministers and elders near you to continue to find ways to “spur each other on to love and good deeds.”

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