God is the Alpha and Omega – timeless and eternal! We on the other hand are all about time – governed by time, run by the clock and are clearly temporal when it comes to our everyday lives.
But what about church workers? While we work in the church our work does not always fit with the secular concepts of schedule and work load. This can be confusing to lay leaders in the Church and it can be confusing for us as well. As I work with a great number of Church workers I discover that it is easy to fall into being workaholics and wanderers.
Workaholics often tend to or try to tend to everything and micromanage those around them. Their lives are almost consumed with the needs of the church and they take little or no time for themselves or their families. Sometimes they end up suffering with stress related depression, exhaustion, domestic strife, obesity, etc. Not good of course, we need time to rest, re-create, fellowship, laugh and experience somethings outside of our work.
The other end of the spectrum finds those who “wander” with a non-committed schedule, watch the clock, feel oblivious to the clock and struggle with accountability. These folks are hard to meet with, have unpredictable office hours and work to have the congregational schedule and calendar conform to their life rhythm and personal needs. Not good of course, we need structure, accountability, predictability and “presence”.
When we understand that time is God’s gift, we have professional responsibilities and accountability we work with the congregational leaders to develop a healthy schedule that fulfills our personal and family needs as well as the needs of the congregation. Our work is not a 40 hour deal.
A number of years ago I attended a conference for pastors. The speaker asked those who felt they were over worked to raise their hands. Most did. Then came the shocker, he said, “I seriously doubt that most of you can show me that you actually do 40 hours of productive work. Goofing around on the computer, idle reading, chatting with co-workers, driving around town, slow motion hospital visits and fiddling with insignificant tasks cannot be counted as productive work.” He then asked, “How many of you consider yourselves “on call” 24 hours a day?” Again many raised their hands. He went on to ask us to write down the number of middle of the night calls we had in the past year. Zero to few was the general response.
Sometimes I hear the comment, “Our pastor needs a rest – he is always so tired.” If you hear that schedule a vacation – take a day off and make sure you are getting rest and exercise! Other times I hear, “Our pastor is in great shape, really buff and rested but he is never in the office. He says we can call him if we need him.” If you hear that post a schedule of office hours and follow it “religiously”.
Balance is not easy to achieve, but it essential for you and your congregation to be healthy! If this seems too hard, talk with other professional people in the congregation for ideas and help. Or call our office and we will be glad to help.