We just celebrated our annual Team Conference. Once a year, we gather the Servant Leaders of our church for a free one-day conference. We get to honor those who serve our church, worship together, and hear from incredible pastors and leaders.
This year, Pastor Robert Madu, Lead Pastor of Social Dallas shared with our teams. He spoke out of Acts 20:7-12, which reads:
“On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs room where we were meeting. Seated in a window was a young man named Eutychus, who was sinking into a deep sleep as Paul talked on and on. When he was sound asleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up dead. Paul went down, threw himself on the young man and put his arms around him. ‘Don’t be alarmed,’ he said. ‘He’s alive!’ Then he went upstairs again and broke bread and ate. After talking until daylight, he left. The people took the young man home alive and were greatly comforted.”
To give a little context — the book of Acts is a record of the first 30 years of the early church. At this time, Paul was a well-known preacher of the Gospel. It’s not unusual that people would gather together to listen to him preach. They carried such expectation that the Holy Spirit would meet them; the scripture says the room was filled with many lamps, proof that they were willing to wait as long as necessary for the Spirit of God to arrive.
Still, it’s an interesting story in scripture. Why would God want us to know about this moment? What is significant about a man who was so tired that he fell out of a window? As leaders, there are two applicable questions this story leads us to ask ourselves.
1. Are you tired?
Have you ever been so tired you didn’t realize you were falling asleep? One second you’re wide awake, then moments late you’re sound asleep. The same can be true in leadership. Even the most faithful, dedicated leaders will eventually grow tired for a season. It’s important that we periodically pause and evaluate how we feel.
We have to be able to recognize when we’re getting sleepy and take proactive steps to course correct. It's not a matter of will you get tired, but rather, when you do — what and how will you regain strength? Here are nine signs you might be getting tired:
1. Little or no desire to pray.
2. Lost appetite for God’s word.
3. No more conviction of willful sin.
4. Desire to be served rather than serving others.
5. Easily offended.
6. Avoiding accountability.
7. Consistent comparison to others.
8. Spreading or entertaining gossip.
9. Isolation from a community of believers.
In moments we realize we’re getting tired, there’s a second question we have to ask ourselves — where in the room are we sitting?
2. Where are you sitting?
The problem wasn’t with Eutychus’ fatigue, the problem was his position. He chose to sit on the ledge of an open window; when he fell asleep, he fell to the ground.
It’s possible to be in the room and be sitting in a dangerous place. If we lean on an open window, it’s only a matter of time before we fall. We have to move away from the window. We can reposition ourselves in a place where it's safe to be sleepy, leaned up against a wall, surrounded by others in the room who can lift us up and realign our focus.
As leaders, we have to continually assess our fatigue and the fatigue of our teams. When someone in the room falls out of the window, our response is to run outside, revive them, and bring them back in. Like Paul, we are called to cover people, remove shame, and extend grace as we partner with God to revive the weary, and play the long game. Whether you find yourself in the room, on the ledge, or on the ground, we know that a sleepy season is not permanent. God is faithful to meet and restore us.