Are you working too much?
I recently asked the following question on Facebook.
“Are you full time and how many hours do you work each week?”
The average answer was 51 hours.
Not surprisingly, I came to the conclusion that many of us are working too much.
I don’t have any problem saying, if you are consistently working for than 50 hours per week you may not finish your race.
Without question the biggest challenge in ministry is creating healthy boundaries.
Church, spouse, children, job and friends all seem to blend together.
Ask yourself some hard questions:
- Do you have a hard time saying no?
- Do you take a regular day off?
- Does your supervisor regularly dump extra stuff on you?
The demands of ministry are never ending.
If you are going to be in the race for the long haul you need to know how and when to say NO.
When I first started in ministry I did not know how to say NO.
I never took a day off.
I was putting in 70 hours per week.
Worse yet I lied to myself saying ‘I am working for the Lord so this is a good thing.’
Think about it.
Does God really want you working 70 hours per week?
Wasn’t He the one who created the concept of a day off?
The good news is that if you establish healthy boundaries in your life and ministry, ultimately you will reach more people for Christ and enjoy your life more.
Here are some tips for creating healthy boundaries in ministry.
1) Your ministry is not God.
Don’t put your work for God before your relationship with God. If you are too busy to pray and
read the Bible you are busier than God ever meant for you to be.
2) Fight for your day off.
Establish at least one day every week for you and your family.
Do not go to church on this day.
Do not read your emails.
Do not think about work.
Have some fun!
3) Listen to your spouse.
Deb and I have always served together.
This has its advantages and disadvantages.
One of the disadvantages is that we are always talking about the ministry.
We have this agreement that if one of us says “I don’t want to talk about ministry right now” then we change the subject.
People say that ministry is 24/7 but it doesn’t have to be that way.
Even Jesus took time away from ministry.
4) Create a “not to do list”.
When you write out your ‘to do list” also create a “not to do list”.
If you are going to do something new, you will have to give up something you are currently doing.
5) Learn how to say no to your boss.
I had a really hard time saying “no” to my pastor because I wanted to please him.
I think most of us feel this way.
This is what I learned to do.
If my pastor asked me to do something new and I had the time to do it I would say ‘yes’.
If it made me feel overwhelmed I would respond by saying something like this, ‘Currently I am working on project A.
I can take on the new project but I will have to put off project A.
Which one do you want me to work on?’
This is better than saying, “No, I don’t have the time” because it gives my pastor the steering wheel.
If my pastor wants me to change and work on something new it’s no sweat off of my nose because I serve him.
6) Turn off your smartphone.
Plan breaks from emails and Facebook.
Be present when your family is around.
Ministry is a marathon not a sprint.
I’ve been in ministry for 35 years and I can count on one hand my peers that are still in ministry today.
If you feel like quitting it may mean it’s time to create some boundaries.
What are some things you are going to put on your ‘not to do list’?
Not only has Mark served in the local church as pastor, associate pastor, and family ministry pastor but he is also a certified coach with the John Maxwell Team.