“But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength;
they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)

Even though runners love running, even they get bored with it sometimes.  As I have already mentioned, runners easily fall into routine workouts and often there is a tendency to think that something won’t work or progress will be impaired if the routine is deviated from even for a day or two.  Even though stale, if the program is working, the temptation is to not change a thing. 

The results of this type of thinking are predictable.  The runner risks becoming lethargic and just going through the paces and the workouts don’t seem to garner the same results as before.  There is the temptation to simply raise the intensity level or mileage.  More of the same is a typical response.  What often helps, however, is just the opposite, getting away from the routine for a workout or two every so often can be just the answer.  The runner began running to get into shape , to prove something to himself, or for any number of reasons, but the true runner usually keeps on running because he truly enjoys it. 

There are a number of activities in which a runner can engage that will keep him in condition but will be enough of a change that the drudgery of the routine will be broken and the runner will be less likely to lose interest in the sport he has embraced.  Sometimes it just takes another kind of workout like cross-training such as biking, or swimming.  But it can also be something more fun, say team sports like basketball or soccer.  It could be a running activity with friends as long as it is kept fun.  My cross country team got so into this idea one season that Wednesdays were dubbed Wacky Wednesdays.  We played any number of made up running games from scavenger hunts to tag to pumpkin runs at Halloween (use you imagination on this one).  Thursdays were almost always a good intense practice because they were ready to get back at it.

Ministry can have the potential to become very routine.  Programs that a youth minister, teacher or pastor inherit can carry high priorities and are often very valuable programs.  Newly introduced events can also quickly attain this status if they are well done and seen to be beneficial.  And, while you appreciate people’s enthusiasm over these, they can get stale and cease to be enjoyable.

What can be done to add variety and fun so you are revitalized to carry on these useful routine ministries?  The example from running may be able to assist in this.  Design an activity to be fun, but still intended to carry out the goal of staying fit, in other words, it is not just fun for the sake of fun.  challenge yourself and your helpers to develop a more creative approach to the ministry activity, one that won’t become an institution in itself.  Keep it simple and one target,  know why you are doing the activity. While you are having fun with it, keep several goals in mind. one, the activity is striving to attain some of the same goals of your regular program, two, it should be fun, three, it is temporary, four, it should be designed to get you motivated to be more intense when you return to your regular routine.

Sometimes keeping in stride entails getting off track for a short time and having fun doing it.