This blog post is a short reminder: Trying to do everything at once will burn you out and make you less effective at nearly everything. When we don’t pace ourselves, what we accomplish will likely be done incrementally as well as if we’d planned better and exercised patience and diligence.
It’s the holidays. Right about now we are all understanding this too late. But the same applies to ministry—and this concept has huge importance for January in churches. I used to feel like we needed to launch all of our new ministry initiatives in January or at back-to-school time. I don’t feel that way any more. Church is supposed to be a year-round sport, and while I certainly know there are times when our church is more focused (Advent, January, Easter and Back-to-School), they aren’t they only times.
It’s also a little chicken and egg—are they focused then because human beings naturally are—or because our way of doing ministry facilitates that rhythm (that tends to be when we pull out our bigger guns). Either way … I’ve learned this since helping start New Vintage Church:
You don’t have to do everything right away.
January brings with it the focus of the church. It’s good to create a sense of hope and direction. But don’t feel as though you have to do or launch every idea you have. Save something for June when you think no one is paying attention, and don’t feel like if you don’t land on the moon every January the church will check out or be disappointed. Hype is a fickle mistress.
Focus instead on developing the ideas you have and timing their implementation to match the church’s spiritual rhythms for maximum spiritual impact. For January, the single most important idea you have might be to simply do what you already do more effectively. Absolutely recast your church’s vision. Make sure the message series and publicity thereto appertaining is in place, for sure. But …
If you don’t, you’ll probably burn out and are more likely to cultivate seasonal Christians. There is something to do in each season to maximize each season—and ministry is more like wine-making than grape-picking.