I’m hoping my title was a bit confusing. I want to name two different ways of doing ministry right off the bat….
- Doing it well
- Doing a lot of it
I remember when I was 22 and just getting started at my first church how I did things. I did a lot of stuff. I hung out with kids all the time, I planned events for every weekend, I did at least 6 retreats a year, and I had probably 3 regular meeting times a week. I was so excited that a church would hire me that I didn’t even consider that all that I was doing was way over the amount of time a full time staff person would do, and I was only 20 hours a week. Now as I report all of that, I’m not bragging on myself, in fact looking back, I can see how young and naïve I was.
I did have some really good ministry experiences with those students, but often in the course of trying to do so much the thing that suffered for me was that I didn’t do things well.
- Because I wanted to do so much, I sometimes didn’t have enough volunteers with me because they were maxed out
- If I sent an email out to families, you could find at least 10 errors in it. (Now I leave the editing to my wife of anything public that I write)
- I didn’t clean up the church real well
- In a hurry to do more, I may have lost perspective on a ministry as many as possible. I did lots of stuff with the regulars but I could have reused some of that energy towards fringe students and tried harder to pull them in
- I may have taught people from my lifestyle that busy is good, and that’s not always the case
- I raised the busyness bar for anyone that followed me that this was good ministry
- I look over my old teaching notes and I wonder, what was I getting at (That might not have been because I was busy, but because I was young)
In retrospect now, I wish I had slowed down and done less but done it better….
I don’t want to be known as the guy who did a lot but did C quality work. I want to be known as a guy who did his best with what he had. And as I consider which of these two approaches honors God the best, I’m thinking it’s the one that does things better.
Here are some of the ways that I’m trying to model in doing things well…
- I’m trying not to produce anything that is publicly viewed that my wife hasn’t edited for grammar
- I’m trying to keep a schedule of events that’s fair to families and doesn’t pull them in every direction
- I’m trying to promote one event at a time to lessen confusion
- I’m trying to keep things clean
- I’m spending good quality time writing lessons and talks and planning out where I’m going in the future
- I’m trying to offer good forms of mass communication
Now I don’t always pull these things off perfectly but I’m feeling a lot better about how I do things.
On a practical level, I don’t think we do our students and their families a good service when we keep them busy or teach them that busy is good. This world is crazy busy. Families sometimes have time for one meal together each week. Moms and dads are running their kids to soccer practice, concerts, their kids’ friends’ homes, and everywhere else, and by simply keeping them busy we are adding to their schedules and giving them less time as a family when that has to be one of the things that we value.
I’m not saying don’t do any events or retreats, but I would encourage you not to flood your students’ lives with more then they need and I wouldn’t want to suggest that showing them lots of stuff done poorly is good….I hope you’ll consider how you are doing things…
Are you too busy? And if you are, what’s paying the price for that busyness?
Consider these scriptures as they point us towards doing things well…
Colossians 3:23-24 – “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”
Philippians 4:8 – “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”
1st Kings 5:15-18 – “Solomon had seventy thousand carriers and eighty thousand stonecutters in the hills, as well as thirty-three hundred foremen who supervised the project and directed the workmen. At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of quality stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple. The craftsmen of Solomon and Hiram and the men of Gebal cut and prepared the timber and stone for the building of the temple.”