Some years ago, a wise pastor friend said something years ago that I’ve never forgotten though I do still neglect to put it into practice now and then. I was feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of requests for my time, gatherings to attend, emails to return, and responsibilities expected to be carried out each week.
“Gary, you of course know what or who the Trinity is. God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.” And I replied, “The what?”
“No”, I naturally responded, “Of course.”
“Well here’s the reality, Gary. You’re not in it!” I’m sure you get his point. He was telling me that my actions and fears were driven by doing ministry as though I was God. In other words, I had to be perfect.
That day I was reminded that there’s at least one thing leaders can’t do. EVERYTHING!
Some of you have worked out how to take this kind of pressure off yourself and the church is okay with your priorities, schedule, and most effective gifts, talents, and goals.
But I would guess that not a few of you are still navigating the tensions of a myriad of perspectives, expectations, and long-held beliefs that pastors MUST do certain things or they don’t count.
So here are a couple of suggestions:
First, take one step to put some tasks in the hands of someone else. Raise up a new volunteer to handle a technical piece. Find an older teen or young adult who lives to use a computer and can do it fast.
Enlist “older” people to write follow up notes (or emails if they know what a cellphone and laptop are) to people that you need to contact, thank, encourage or celebrate a special day. Use your admin (or secretary if you believe “texts” are something originally in Greek or Hebrew) to do the same.
Talk with your board (Elders, Deacons, other leaders) about the importance of sharing responsibilities, raising up volunteers (Ephesians 4), and celebrating new people serving.
Mention the new volunteers, perhaps telling their story of how being involved has changed them, increased their faith, and deepened their walk.
There are many more options but start somewhere. Because remember this favorite phrase of mine: If you let it continue it will. Break the cycle and watch for the growth in the church as a whole and in you. Things might never be the same and actually more like the church was intended to be.