Consider the organizational design of the typical medium-sized church:
A full time pastor has a paid staff of mostly part-time leaders who are pulled in many directions by virtue of their families, their other jobs, and their existence beyond the church.
Sunday is the biggest event of the week, but that’s not to say that other events are not important. Weddings, funerals, bible studies, memory verses, markers, broomball, ping-pong… any alive church reflects vibrancy in its schedules and facilities.
Most of the work is done by volunteers who have all the pulls listed above, except that they’re not paid. A better title might be leader, servant, awesome, brilliant, helpful, committed, loved. The body of Christ is a bunch of people working together, equipped by ministry leaders for service to the community and congregation.
To sum: staff (hands full), events (almost constant), members (being the church in a busy world). It sounds like a recipe for success, right? Hardly. Drawn on paper, ministry is a crazy machine which looks like it popped out of a rejected Dr. Seuss book.
Oh, but praise God — it works. And when it gets bumpy, cloppy, chunky, or just crooked, we make adjustments and do the best with what we’ve got. I say all this to make my point: I love and appreciate my wise and insightful wife. Why? Because it was she who reminded me that ministry is complex. She said something like “stuff happens, and that’s life, and we go on and keep going.” She’s right.
Though we face the challenge of missional momentum, we have the Holy Spirit who empowers, the Christ who is our Head, and the Father who carries and covers us. I know it’s true. I do. But I’m glad that He also gave me a wife to remind me of this in a mess of complexity. Any important work built on a directive will be more prone to scuffs as speed increases. I’d rather have it this way than the way of atrophy.
Isn’t it curious how demanding the things we enjoy can sometimes be?
Take a breath, fellow ministry leaders. We have everything we need and the opportunity to laugh about it, too. Praise God for His calling, His equipping, and for trusting us with an impossible task. Remember the impact that He makes through us. Don’t give up.
Better idea: take a nap. It’s gonna be fine.