So I have been writing a few posts (will be 4 in all) on some areas that I think church employees need to rethink, or at best, at least address.
Now I’m not writing these posts cause I have done all these things right, rather I am writing them because I have failed in all of them and have had to rethink them myself. Hopefully I get smarter the longer I do ministry.
If you haven’t noticed, most of them revolve around two key areas: 1) volunteers/those who serve who aren’t “employed”; 2) time management/time priorities.
This brings me to my third.
MODELING BOUNDARY SETTING
When I speak of boundaries I could talk about all kinds of them, but I’m focusing on the boundaries you model in regards to your time priorities.
I hear more and more church leaders (and I’m one of them) who have often complained about the time priorities that those in the congregation have. In fact, more than likely you will hear at some point a pastor exhort the members of the church to be better parents and spend time with their kids, or be a better spouse and spend time with one another. We are really good at telling others how to manage their time, and what areas to prioritize it…especially from the pulpit. But we are not so good at doing it ourselves.
I have made the comment that two of the worst professions I have ever seen in regards to time priorities are pastors and therapists. Which is ironic since they are always telling others how to do it. I’m both of those professions…so I don’t know what says about me (I’m in trouble). We tend to have a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality when we pastor.
So, if you want your congregants to be at home to have dinner with their families. Then you need to be at home having dinner with your family.
If you want your congregants to not be workaholics, then you need to not be a workaholic.
If you want your congregants to stop overplanning their kid’s schedules, then you need to stop overplanning their kid’s schedules with events (i.e. youth workers, etc.).
If you want your congregants to serve, then you need to be out serving.
If you want your congregants to be in community, living, eating, serving, etc., then you need to be in community.
This list can go on and on. You get the point.
So, if you want your congregation to “be” or “live” some way, then model that for them. This isn’t groundbreaking…but we just don’t do it.
It all hit home very hard for me when I was seeing clients at 6, 7 and 8pm at night a few nights a week. Those are the prime hours and I was required by my clinic. And here I was telling a family the importance of eating dinner together, spending time with one another as a family and couple. And what was I doing? Well, I wasn’t at home with my family. At the end of the day, how seriously could they take me, no matter if what I was saying was true or not. That was the biggest factor for me leaving and starting my own private practice. Control of my own schedule.
Of course there are exceptions and late night meetings. I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about a way of life. And I think how you model your time is one of the most powerful examples.
What are you modeling?