Friday, 29 January 2016

The tyranny of being ministry busy

'Better to be busy than bored.'  I've lost track of how often I've said that.  And there's a sense in which that's right, we should never be idly twiddling our thumbs in ministry.  There is always more to pray through (often squeezed out), the long term strategy to think through (sometimes squeezed out), people to visit, reading to catch up on, advanced study (what's that you say?) to do and so on.  Busyness in ministry is a good thing.  Provided that we know the difference between our load and our limit.  Our load is what is long term sustainably health for us and our families, our limit is the pace we can work at for a finite period of time in a crisis.  Don't confuse the two.

But busyness in general in ministry is not what I'm thinking about.  I'm thinking about the busyness that says ministry busyness is the only sort of busyness there really matters.  That frowns, shakes its head and sighs at the notion of someone in secular work being busy.  It's easy for those of us in full time ministry to forget that our lay leaders work as hard as we do if not harder and then voluntarily give their time to be elders, deacons, Sunday school teachers, and youth leaders on top.  I addition to that they have all the same family pressures we have.  But they also have the added complexity that they serve God in a secular workplace with all the extra pressure and scrutiny that involves.  Those of us in ministry would do well to remember this and to allow that to drive us to grateful prayer for those who serve in that capacity.

We also need to take practical steps to ensure they can serve well.  We may have had hours and hours to pray through the upcoming agenda or to think through the new ministry we're launching but they haven't had the same head space we are afforded, though many endeavour to give it.  How practically can we help?  Detailed explanations of the whys and wherefores is important and helpful.  Provided in time to give them the space to think about it over an extended period is even more so.  Schedule meetings to fit around them rather than around you, if that means flexing on your time off, do it, that is a great privilege of working in ministry.  Cancel meetings that are unnecessary and remember to thank them and let them know you appreciate being surrounded by a band of committed brothers and sisters.

But above all we need to remember 'Ministry Busy' isn't the only busy in fact in our churches it may not even be the most busy or harried or pressured.

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