By Steve Dunn
Recently I was doing some leadership training for the Council of a congregation whose ministry was into an exciting, but sometimes season of growth. They definitely had an outward focus which included a youth ministry that was reaching many unchurched kids. But they had come to a point where the council felt like they were meeting themselves coming and going. (And they were correct).
Churches, especially American churches tend to equate busyness with faithfulness and fruitfulness. “Wherever we see a need we will respond” is their proud battle cry. “Look at all our programs. We have something for everyone!” is enthusiastic proclamation.
As much as these goals may find affirmation in a performance-driven culture, the reality is that they often dilute faithfulness and drain fruitfulness. Here are just a few reasons why:
1. They focus on appearance instead of effectiveness. Being busy often requires us to take short cuts, to avoid hard and necessary evaluation, and to be satisfied with numbers instead of substance.
2. They do not encourage people to work out of their giftedness and calling. Rather, they encourage people to get on board with what the majority is comfortable doing instead of the specific thing God wants them to contribute.
3. They make sprinting through ministry the model instead of encouraging the pacing that comes with the marathon that ministry often requires.
4. They often encourage the church to expend its energies on so many good things that the more essential and great things God wants to do have no resources left.
5. They encourage the consumerism that says what everyone wants needs to be done instead of what God wants to be done.
6.And perhaps the most dangerous, they just wear people out without ever seeing the prize realized. In fact, they often disconnect us from the prize which is the love of Christ within us.
Jill Briscoe once said, “There is a difference between being tired in the work of the Lord and being tired of the work of the Lord.” Busyness easily promotes the latter—and when people burn out they tend to drop out, sometimes for good.
© 2016 by Stephen L. Dunn. You have permission to reprint this provided it is unchanged, proper authorship is cited, it is in a publication not for sale, and a link is provided to this site or to www.drstevedunn.com. For all other uses, contact Steve at email@example.com