I am a plate spinner. I am a person who struggles with pleasing people so I end up trying to do everything, spinning plates, till I overload myself which leads to burn out and seeing all of the plates come crashing down on me.
I cannot believe it was 2 years ago that Jenn and I came to FBC Vidalia to serve our community. It still feels like we are brand new here. There has definitely been a learning curve for me. I have grown in learning how to depend on my staff. I have grown in my understanding of how to lead a mid sized First Baptist Church. I have learned my limitations as I cannot shepherd a church of our size by myself.
This has been a stretching work in my life. Over the last 6 months Jenn and I have stepped into leading the Landing on Thursday nights. The Landing is an incredible ministry to teenagers who have grown up in the homes of parents with drug and alcohol addictions. That said, I began to look at my schedule and realize I was waking at 4 every day, studying 2-2.5 hours at home, working 6-7 or so hours in the office writing sermons, leading in administration, and doing pastoral care. Most weeks also included being out 2-3 nights as well for the church. The Landing added another night away and opened my eyes to my plate spinning problem.
The plate I routinely dropped was my kids.
This past week I heard about 2 of my deacons who are going to do major house work in one of my widows’ houses. In my head I thought, I can get away for a few hours to help. This past week my secretaries went and made a few house calls for the church. My guilt seized in me saying, why didn’t you make those visits?
As a pastor I pride myself in loving my people as they walk through the difficulties of life. I have also realized that I can’t do it alone in a church our size.
My responsibility is not to see my people’s service and take it as an indictment of my failures. Instead I am called to see how a healthy church should not be dependent on the pastor to fill every need.
I am learning to reprioritize my time. I am learning to take a few hours with my kids when I am working in the evenings. I am learning that I cannot fill the needs of the church, only Jesus can, and He equips the whole church to this mission.
The church needs every member in service. To paraphrase a past president, ask not what your church can do for you, ask what you can do for your church.
My plate spinning problem is that I am trying to accomplish ministry by myself that belongs to the people of the church. So, next time you see a ministry that needs doing, a person that needs visiting, a life that needs investing in, or a need that needs filling, perhaps God has placed that in front of you for you.
The church works best when it is a body. When each person serves, the body is healthy. When a few carry the load, we accomplish little. Are you ready? Let’s serve.