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Posts Tagged ‘busyness’


It has been crazy busy around here this Fall. In addition to normal pastoral duties I’ve been running a New Members’ Class and Officer Training on Saturdays. This means that the Session has to spend time interviewing new members, and soon will examine officer candidates. As a Session we’ve finally finished our revised By Laws and new Manual of Procedure (I can really hate trellis work), and we are getting ready to present a Master Site plan and “Bridge” Plan to renovate and expand our current facilities. Our music director took an unexpected leave of absence for a month so I had to provide additional leadership to our music ministry. There were also a few unexpected “crisis” that ate up time and energy. You know they will happen, but you don’t know when and they seem to come in bunches.

As if that wasn’t enough, in addition to normal Dad and Husband duties, two kids and CavWife had surgery this Fall. We had family in town for about 2 weeks and missionaries stayed with us back in September. I’ve also been editing a book in the hopes of publishing. Part of that has included some structural changes in chapters.

So obviously I should read Kevin DeYoung’s latest book Crazy Busy. Just makes sense, right?

Absolutely! The subtitle is A Mercifully Short Book About a (Really) Big Problem. The book really is short- 117 smallish sized pages that make it easy to  read in short blocks of time.

“If you have creativity, ambition, and love, you will be busy.”

In terms of material he covers, I’ll start with the end. He admits that we should be busy because God has given us plenty to do to fulfill our calling. The problem is not being busy, but often we are busy with the wrong things. As a result we are often unproductive. This is not a call to the life of leisure, but wisdom: choosing the best instead of the good or the not-so-good. The reason we in the West tend to suffer, so to speak, in our busyness is that we don’t expect to be busy (and suffer) in addition to an unwillingness to make difficult choices.

“Paul had pressure. You have pressure too. But God can handle the pressure. Do not be surprised when you face crazy weeks of all kinds. And do not be surprised when God sustains you in the midst of them.”

Kevin writes the book from the perspective of a man who struggles with busyness. He is crazy busy himself and much of what he writes is what he is trying to implement. He hasn’t arrived at the perfect point of balance in his life. He is not making promises either as if he’s offering a 7-step plan to achieve bliss.

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No doubt about it, ministry is time consuming. Some people think we read books all day (yes, I read plenty of books- that is part of my job responsibilities). There are also plenty of meetings, during the day and in the evening and sometimes on weekends. There are phone calls, e-mails, personal counseling, working lunches…

Ministry takes time. I don’t say that to make it sound like pastors are busier that other people. I say it because some people think it isn’t. And that busyness can be a problem. Being too busy is one of The Mistakes Leaders Make.

“… it seems that most leaders are moving too fast and trying to do too much. There is precious little time set aside to think, pray, plan, and listen to the Lord.”

Ministry is more than doing. Leadership is about more than doing things. It is about setting a pace, a direction and a tone. And if you do that intentionally (thinking, praying, planning), it will just happen and when that happens the results are usually not pretty. The pace becomes too fast, there is no real direction and the tone is “don’t bother me now.” It happens in parenting, and it happens in ministry.

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In a recent interview I was asked about the influence of these times on ministry and life.  I talked about how people are over-committed and have very little free time in their schedules to pursue maturity in Christ and the concerns of the kingdom.

Then I got an e-mail about Not So Fast: Slow-Down Solutions for Frenzied Families by Ann Kroeker.  I thought I should give it a read.  I had never heard of her before, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  It was easy to read, but covered significant material in a meaningful way.  It’s short chapters were written with the overly-busy in mind.  Each chapter ends with Slow Notes which are suggestions for slowing down your life in keeping with the material covered in the chapter, and Live From the Slow Zone in which friends of hers share some of their stories about slowing down life.  Additionally, I found the book referring to Christ and the gospel often.  This is not a book about trying harder, or loading you with false guilt.  It is very gracious, honest and does not think this will look the same in every family’s life

” To live slower requires buy-in from the entire family.”

The basic premise is that we move too fast.  We commit ourselves to too many opportunities for ourselves and our kids.  We move from one event to another, stressed out in between, and somehow think that more is better. We are also saturating ourselves on entertainment & information as we sit in front of our TVs, video games and computers.

“To be safe, we need to anchor our choices in a person– Jesus Christ- and we need to weigh them against His Word.”

Little do we know the price we are paying for these hectic, over-stuffed lives we lead.  We suffer spiritually, having little to know time to delight in His Word, chewing on it (see Psalm 1, I’m preparing a sermon on it).  We suffer relationally, having little time to know each other.  As a result we suffer emotionally, having little/no resources to cope with the overload we experience.  We are also, as she covers in various chapters, too fast to care (for others), rest, to pray, to worship, enjoy creation, or create.  She draws on a number of studies to illustrate her points, providing some objectivity.  She also has a chapter which covers some of the “good” reasons we do this to ourselves, and helps you sort through your own reasons for pursuing this unsustainable life.

“When we understand the driving force(s) behind our current choices, we can go with humility to the Lord and seek His wisdom, direction, and instruction for how to live according to His principles and in obedience to His Word.”

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