I often struggle to balance my time, in fact many I speak to speak of the same kind of struggle. Of recent days I have been trying to bleed the various compartments of my life together a bit more, meaning, that I am trying less to see my work life, my ministry (lay/paid), my recreation, my family and so on as all seperate entities. This is tough. Particularly when you get paid to do a job or in some cases paid to work a certain number of hours. What does an 8 hour day look like? Is it all work? Is some research? Retreat? Prayer? I guess it depends on who you work for and where you work.
As a paid worker in a christian organisation or church should we operate out of the same business principles and values as a corporate world/business operates out of? I am not so sure.
I read this point among others off a blog called Lowercase, it was suggesting a series of point common to all ‘high achievers” in the business world and asking if we should have some of these values in church work –
5. they all worked very long days, some of them only wrapping up their days somewhere between 9-12 in the evening. there were pauses in there, but however you slice it, they worked hard and didn’t seem to think anything of the hours.
I think it’s a tough discussion to have as you almost need to set up a whole pile of definitions before you have the discussion. Like define “work”, as in when you do XYZ it “works”, as in it produces results…what results? Are the things we measure in church the same as the things we measure as “successful results” in the business world? Are they all different, some different?
These quotes arrived in an email in the middle of my discussion with MOB from lowercase and I thought they were relevant –
“…while once the essence of leadership may have been activity, our times require a different kind of leader, one who leads from both head and heart and one whose very essence can be described as spiritual. Too much activity, particularly that on the part of leaders, has been shaped because there was a drive to succeed… a need to be successful… a hunger to be seen as effective, to feed the ego. But the biggest egos are usually fed at the expense of others. In the new world that kind of oppression is seen for what it is… self-serving, manipulative, and oppressive. As we clearly see that kind of activity as the antithesis of Christ’s kingdom, we are waiting for a new kind of leadership… one that is essentially spiritual.
Tonight I watched as my usually busy wife sat down on the couch. Within minutes of her resting her body there, one of our cats came and curled up on her lap. There is something irresistibly hospitable about a warm and restful person [Great illustration!]
When I intentionally seek quiet and restful space, I encounter the Spirit of God. When we separate ourselves from busyness and distraction, He comes to brood over us. In that place of shared rest we have nothing to prove, no one to influence, no way to “succeed” except to be loved. Restful people become a welcoming place for the Spirit of God, and in turn can offer peace and rest to others.
The only way forward to a new kind of church is to become people of restfulness and contemplation. So long as we are driven to bring change, driven to be effective, we will only recreate the driven, oppressive, addictive and compulsive systems we have always known.
The greatest hope of influencing change is not our compulsive activity to shape a world different than the one we know, but to become the change we seek. I am gradually learning that this is a completely impossible task. But for God…” From Len Hjalmarson,
in his review of Eugene H. Peterson’s wonderful book,
I actually think the whole link came from here. The kiwi has some golden material!
Here it is 9am and I am still sitting in my PJ’s blogging, but I was answering emails at 6.50am for an hour, then will pop in to see my sister on my way to a meeting at 11am, should I be clocking my time to be ‘effective’? Or is my time effective as I reflect on these very issues? Is this part of my ‘ministry’ or is my life my ministry? I could use these refelctions in my coaching. As I chat with my neighbour about issues of life, faith, food and fishing should I feel guilty because that is not in my job description? Should I charge overtime when I start work at 6am or work till midnight? I don’t think I can charge overtime!! But you get my point.
There is a whole discussion to be had on the issue of Christian professionals…or professional christians!!
Love to hear your thoughts.