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Maintaining Balance Part 3 – Your Church

Let’s face it.  In many cases our modern churches have become much more than just a gathering place to worship.  We have added daycare, schools, coffee shops, bookstores, free wi-fi, etc., etc., etc.  Now there is nothing inherently bad with these things, and for the most part they are great tools for reaching new people and providing Christ centered education for our children.  However, who is responsible for keeping these things operational and when do we get back to the church being a group of believers assembled together to worship God?

Today, I’d like to focus on maintaining balance in Your Church.  The statistics are staggering:

  • Pastors have the second highest divorce rate of any other profession.
  • 40% of pastors and 47% of spouses are suffering from burnout, frantic schedules, and/or unrealistic expectations.
  • 45% of pastors say that they’ve experienced depression or burnout to the extent that they needed to take a leave of absence from ministry.
  • 80% of pastors say they have insufficient time with their spouse.

And the most Staggering Statistic:

  • 1,500 pastors leave their ministries each month due to burnout, conflict, or moral failure.

Are you kidding me?  What in the world is going on that leads to statistics like this?

What we have is a management crisis in our churches.  Unlike any other entity, the pastor is the CEO of the organization is in a much different position than most other leaders.  People are looking to the pastor for leadership, discipleship and guidance.  In most cases, the tasks he is responible for are impossible to deligate.  The spiritual guidance responsibilities of a pastor are a full time job in itself.  The pastor has any number of people in his congregation and hopefully his community looking for a piece of his time.  Since like everyone else, the pastor only has 24 hours in a day, he must be the best steward of his time. 

The problem comes when the other tasks are added to his responsibilities.

Not only is the pastor responsible for the spiritual direction of the church, but also the often mundane, business operations of the church.  These are the tasks that keep the doors open and the lights on.  Most churches rely on volunteers for these tasks as they are the easiest to delegate.  However, as we all know, volunteers are a two-edged sword.  They are both a great blessing and a curse at the same time.  While a volunteer is vital to keeping the church alive, they are also a source of many headaches for some pastors.  They have the best of intentions and motivations, however they often don’t have the same ‘investment’ as the pastor in making sure the church is successful.

Here are some ideas for pastors to keep their sanity and manage their time:

  • Allocate time to allow for visitors needing help or other pastoral care duties each day.
  • Make a list of every tasks you are responsible for.   Take note of the items only you can do, delegate the rest.
  • Block time in your schedule each week for your family.  As Zig Ziglar says, having a good homelife gives you the home field advantage.  It all starts in the home.
  • Develop a volunteer filter process to ensure that each volunteer is handling responsiblities within their skillset and giftedness.  A volunteer in the wrong position hurts everyone.
  • Conduct volunteer reviews as you would staff reviews.  Everyone hates confrontation.  But ignoring situations that can be leading to problems only makes things worse.  Also, the flip side of that is to praise for good work!
  • Outsource Some Operations to a company with the expertise you need.  OK, so this is a shameless plug for TheChurchBusinessGuys.com.  But wouldn’t it be nice to have everything done, ready at your fingertips, by a company with the expertise you need?

Take steps today to gain control of your time.  Don’t allow yourself to become a statistic.