This fall has been filled with conferences. Some experiences have been better than others for me, but I've been able to have some really good conversations with dozens of leaders from across the country. There is one thing that seems to come up when I talk to people in ministry - and more often than I'd like.
People thinking they should be doing more than they already are.
Desiring to do more for those we work with certainly isn't a bad thing. We just need to make sure "more" doesn't come at the expense of what's important. People.
Sometimes we think by doing more we'll have a greater impact on people. That can be true, but often the opposite happens. If we're not careful "more" actually comes at the expense of people. For instance, we can often think that we need to do more in our programs to be effective. Another video, a better game, a better sermon, etcetera. But the reality is people just need to be invested in, they don't need more programming. Programs can be helpful, but if putting them together are at the expense of living life with people we can easily lose focus on what's important.
To me, ministry is simple. Loving God and investing in individual people. We have a horrible tendency to make it more difficult than that. And then our definition of effectiveness gets all messed up...leading us to believe that we need to do more than just investing in individual people.
I want to issue some encouragements to those who feel they need to do more than this. For those possibly discouraged because of a seemingly more effective ministry in town. Or, possibly, to those that don't have a type A personality and not the most gifted teacher in the world. Here are 4 things that, if you're already doing in ministry, tell you nothing more needs to be implemented:
- Simply helping people love God with all of their being
- Simply helping people biblically navigate the waters they are in personally
- Simply providing a safe place for people to express thoughts and not be judged
- Simply helping people learn what it means to live out what they say they believe
Putting together another program - or doing more in the one you already have - might be helpful in accomplishing these things. But maybe it's not what's needed. Maybe doing less is best to make sure we're staying focused on what's important. People.