New year, new you! It seems to be the rallying cry across social media as we all vow to set aside the holiday snacks, start an ambitious new exercise regime, and tackle all the dreams left unfinished last year. It’s like we all collectively decide that we can be fundamentally different humans with different habits and patterns, just because the calendar rolled over to a new year. I’m exhausted already just thinking about it.
It’s a cultural myth that we can keep adding more – more activities, more productivity – and not see a correlated drop in the effectiveness of that projectivity, not to mention our mental bandwidth to handle it all. Can I offer that in the effort to be healthier leaders growing healthier churches, perhaps this new year can be a timely opportunity to assess what we’re doing with fresh eyes – and consider what things we should stop doing?
God gives us exactly enough time to accomplish his will. That means that if we’re overloaded and not able to accomplish it all, that means we’ve taken on more than he intended for us to do, or perhaps we’re doing what he intends, but in the wrong way.
Our schedules, as well as our churches, like any other organization, can experience scope creep. Instead of focusing our time and resources on the things that we’re called to do and that produce the most results, we’ve adjusted course by degrees until our original goal is no longer on the radar at all.
So what do we do about it? Here are two places to start:
- Reclarify your purposes.
We believe in growing purpose-driven leaders and churches here for a reason. Your life can be driven by a lot of things – pleasing others, seeking happiness, being successful – and none is necessarily bad in and of itself. But God laid out in his word that each of us, and each church, is to be about 5 specific purposes: loving God and being loved by him, belonging to his family the church, growing into spiritual maturity, serving others, and sharing the Good News. Knowing this allows us to evaluate what we’re doing through a clear lens – will this activity, program, investment help me develop in one of the purposes?
- Take time to prune.
Church leaders – I encourage you to take a hard look at your agenda and your church’s agenda. With so many stakeholders and various agenda items, we can easily become program-driven churches without even realizing it. And these choices trickle down to our members, where our church calendar is in competition with all the other calendar items in their lives. There are things in your schedule that aren’t necessarily bad – they just aren’t necessary. Look to see where you can prune back the areas that aren’t producing fruit towards your goals.
Pastor Rick tells the story of meeting with his mentor, renowned business leader Peter Drucker. Whenever Rick would walk in, excited to share all the new ideas he looked to venture into, Drucker first asked him to tell him what programs he was going to stop. The seasoned leader understood that if we really want to pursue picking up the “new,” we first have to make a concerted effort to lay down some of the “old.”
If you want coaching on how to clarify your vision for your church and structure around the 5 purposes, our team is here to help! Check out a PD Webinar to get started and join a cohort of other pastors on a journey to healthier churches and ministry lives