My wife and I used to live in this awesome apartment in midtown Baltimore. One evening we had just come back from the grocery store faced with a dilemma. We were faced with carrying a large amount of grocery bags from our car to our apartment (On the 4th floor) in one trip. The reason we needed to do it in one trip is because there were no more spots in the apartment parking lot and it was too late at night to leave anything of value in the car .
So we attempted to do the impossible. As we unloaded the car our bags began to tear, so we decided to move quicker; however, they kept tearing. We picked up our pace, thinking we could make it to at least inside the building when suddenly everything spilled onto the pavement. Disaster struck because we thought we could handle the load. Nope, we were carrying too much.
There are times in youth ministry when you think you can handle the load. Unfortunately, responsibilities pile on top of one another, the weight gets heavier and next thing you know everything is just spilling everywhere. You’ve lost control of your ministry. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to recognize when you are doing too much until it’s too late. While it is difficult to recognize there are a few signs. For example, you know you are doing too much when you:
- Do Not Sleep Well
- Work Longer With Less Productivity
- Feel More Irritable
- Keep Disappointing Others
It’s when you start seeing these results that you need to sit down (Even if you feel like you don’t have time) and:
- Map Out An Ideal Schedule: You are working and living in chaos because you are lacking a vision for your ministry. Even if it doesn’t seem likely you need a plan that will help you manage your time and responsibilities. Plan each day and include everything, even your lunch breaks. If you had total control over your schedule what would it look like?
- Build Guardrails: You’ve gone off the deep end because you didn’t have anyone or thing to warn you that you were too close to the edge. Find people who know your schedule to keep you accountable. Go back to your schedule and set a time when you review your commitments. If you get paranoid about doing too much, good, you are on the right path.
- Know The Word “No”: One of the largest reasons you do too much is because you don’t know how to say, “NO”. Granted you might say it to others; however, how are you at saying it to yourself? Even if an opportunity looks good, if you cannot handle it, if you are unsure about it’s expectations caution on the side of not doing it. If you aren’t a fan of saying, “No.” in fear of missing out on something big, build up the confidence to say, “Let me think about it.”
If you do too much you’ll burn out of ministry. Knowing when you are doing too much is key to longevity and health in ministry. Set-up a system that protects you and has you focused on why it is you do ministry.
How do you safeguard against doing too much?
Chris Wesley (@chrisrwesley)