By Ryan Rice
There’s an idea today that busyness marked by an overloaded calendar is great gain. This isn’t from Scripture but it’s how many of us pastors live. We often say yes more than we say no, and things that cry urgent become what’s important in our lives.
As I walked through my house a few weeks ago, I noticed there were lights out. I’d paid the electric bill, but almost every light bulb had blown out. I began to think about whose job is it to change those light bulbs.
It didn’t take long to realize I was the responsible party. It’s easy to neglect doing important things because we’re too occupied with tasks that feel urgent in the moment. For many of us pastors, one of the important things we often neglect is our home.
Being busy makes us to feel as if we’re accomplishing goals, but in the end, it leaves us neglecting what’s important. As we inch closer to the close of 2018, consider making it a goal next year not to do more, but less.
This is difficult for pastors because we’re asked to do so much. For many of us, we’re not only the pastor but the janitor, IT guy, graphic designer, and person over accounts receivable.
Today, the pastor wears many hats. But consider the apostles, who—when they were wearing many hats—raised up faithful leaders to help carry the load.
The twelve apostle summoned the whole company of disciples in Acts 6:2-3, and said, “It would not be right for us to give up preaching the word of God to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and wisdom, whom we can appoint to this duty.”
Notice they kept their focus on what was most important—prayer and the preaching of the Word of God. What if we also challenged ourselves to keep the important stuff first?
Intimacy with the Lord
I recently heard a pastor say the church needs her pastor to walk in holiness first and foremost. The way we continue in holiness is through our intimate relationship with the Lord.
There are many times when I can be so busy that prayer and spending time in the Word of God can end up last on my list of things to do. While I’m not advocating for keeping a checklist for devotional time with the Lord, adding prayer and reading the Word to your calendar can help keep first things first.
Pastor, it’s not a waste of time to slow down, pray, and spend time with the Lord. We shouldn’t feel guilty for saying yes to the Lord and no to the urgent.
Care For Home
If someone were to open your garage or shed, could they find their way around? A better question is, when was the last time you took care of things around your home?
We often take care of everyone else in our church ministry but neglect whom God has given us responsibility for in our home ministry. Our families are our first ministries, and those who sit around our tables are our most important disciples.
If busyness is causing us to neglect taking care of our homes, then we’re too busy. God’s grace is sufficient to keep us in ministry at our local church even if we don’t attend every weekend church event.
I’ve learned people will make do even if the pastor isn’t in attendance. My home and kids, however, won’t make due if I neglect them.
What if the cause of our anxiety in ministry is the lack of us empowering others to lead? We’re often aware of the reality that we can’t do it all but we still try anyway.
God has blessed your church with every spiritual blessing it needs to accomplish the mission of reaching your city with the gospel. Instead of trying to do it all, why not equip others for the work of the ministry?
If everything in the church rises and falls on us as pastors, we’re not leading well. We must rest and trust God the Holy Spirit to raise up leaders we can equip for the work of ministry.
Philippians 1:6 says, “I am sure of this, that he who started a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
God is faithful to keep and sustain us in ministry. On the ministry journey, we must keep our eyes on the most important things. Busyness does not necessarily equal godliness.
In 2019, may our goal be to do less and to do it well so we can focus on more for the glory of God.
RYAN RICE, SR. (@ryanricesr) is husband to Seané, father of Ryan, Jr., Brayden, Reagen, & Bailey, and has been in ministry since 2007. He’s currently the lead pastor of Connect Church of Algiers in New Orleans, Louisiana, which they planted in 2014.