Take It Personal: Part 1 - Time
In my time in ministry I have learned one of the hardest things to do is to “not take things personal” in a vocation that is completely geared towards people. I recently heard it said that sheep are dumb and need to be led but they will still try to bite you and fight you while you rescue them from the cliff they are about to fall from. There in lies the difficulty of ministry. I would like to take some time to break this down a little bit but for the sake of time, I'm going to do it in three parts.
Take your time Personal
Time has become one of the most valuable resources we have. It cannot be traded or bartered but it can be wasted. Hip hop artist and street poet Propaganda says,
“she (time) keeps begging me to stop stuffing her full and stretching her thin. And to stop being concerned with the old her and future her but love her now..."
I have discovered that somehow we equate busyness with productivity and you would think that in the church we would look at it differently but if we are honest, it may be worse in the church than in the corporate world. As leaders, we feel the need to keep the church, and the calendar, full. As members, we want to do five bible studies a week, plus worship practice, attend church every Sunday and Wednesday, and be at beckon call every time the doors open. Yeah, that is busy, but is it productive? That really is a tough question, and one I cannot answer for you. I am definitely not advocating the church doing nothing but I believe some churches need to do less. Let me ask a couple questions to both of these scenarios.
To the leader that keeps the church open 24/7, keeping the calendar full, how do you have time to minister to them? How do you have time for your family? More importantly, how are you making enough time for God? I know that seems like an odd question but if we really stop to think and pray about that, the answer may surprise us. A friend of mine once told me a story of a gas tanker truck on the side of the road. It had run out of gas. That’s such a perfect illustration of what ministry feels like to way too many. You have fuel for everyone but you do not have enough fuel yourself to get it to them.
To the person who wants to attend all these studies and live at the church, let me ask this. What are you really learning? More importantly, what are you really applying to your life? The relationships you are building may be many but what is the depth of those relationships? It is very clear that we need to spend time in community, studying scripture, and applying it to how we do life and that realistically is hard enough to do at face value. Too much becomes information overload and application becomes very difficult if not impossible. You are not really learning anything, just recycling or regurgitating information. You may even have something very interesting to bring to a conversation later but is it really your belief that you live or is it just an idea you picked up on in one of your many endeavors.
Even in this moment, I want to invite you to pause. Take a deep breath and reread the last two sections. Ask God to speak into you. Intimacy with Christ needs to be the goal, not more “Jesus events.” I assure you, I have held enough Jesus pep rallies and attended several also. Looking back now, I wonder the value in that.