Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are You Overextended in Ministry? Then Train Your Replacement

It's too common for ministers to become overextended. Too many horror stories of pastor's families going without their father have been repeated over the years by countless family members. There's a reason that the term "Preacher's Kid" has a stigma to it.

Additionally, there's a reason that there is abundant council to ministers who "burn out". Some even suffer various emotional a physical breakdowns. How often do you see your pastor obligatorily attending every event in the church or even feeling the need to lead every event in the church? Do you have events so large at your church that some staff members or other ministers stay up to all hours at the church, even for weeks before the event, in preparation?

This pattern doesn't just go for pastors or other staff members. Most churches can identify perhaps 20% of their congregation who do perhaps 80% of the volunteer work in the church. When someone is identified as an achiever of sorts, they are asked to do the work. It's easy to seek out those who are known to accomplish a lot of work in order to enlist their efforts in the newest endeavors. These people too often burn out as well. The all-too-common counsel for them is that they need to learn to say "no".

Some people have trouble saying "no" because they believe that the work won't get done if they don't do it themselves. The problem with this is that it indicates a deep-seated distrust of other people. Often this trust is not unfounded. That is, there have been times when they enlisted the help of someone else who failed them. So they gave up trusting other people. These super-ministers have all the experience to best accomplish the task because they have learned from their failures and know how it's supposed to be done so that there is no failure. The problem is that they don't see any success beyond anyone else's failure.

If you do the ministry of ten people, then you have taken the responsibility to minister away from nine other Christians. Is it not a better ministry to disciple others to do the excess minstry you have on your plate?

And in order to do this, you have to allow others the opportunity to fail so that they learn the same way you did.

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