It’s 2pm on a Thursday and you are knee-deep in your sermon preparation and coming down the homestretch. The energy, caffeine, and momentum are just right – you feel you’ll finish before 6pm and make it home in time for supper.
Then it happens: You get that knock on your door and look up to see someone standing in your doorway saying, “Do you have a moment?” – They’re not interrupting your work. They ARE your work.
Ministry is about people; it always has been and always will be.
One thing that bugs me is hanging out with pastors that say (not jokingly), “Ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people.” It pains my heart that pastors and Church leaders don’t get this simple truth. We are the Body of Christ and every member is important and special. We are called to shepherd God’s people and that involves getting our hands dirty and yes, being bothered and interrupted.
IMPORTANT: This isn’t about being an introvert or extrovert. This is about being sensitive to the Holy Spirit, who is always at work around us.
As ministers, we should seek the opportunities to show and express Christ’s love to those we lead and serve.
Speaking of seeking opportunities: You have to be intentional. What does your weekly schedule look like? How many breakfasts, coffees, and lunches do you schedule each week? I fill lots of my calendar with people meetings and have for 27 years.
If you go from administrative meeting to meeting and never schedule any time with your congregation members, volunteers and staff, and people in the community, you’re missing a crucial part of leadership and the opportunity to be God in the flesh to someone in need.
Please note: It is very important to set boundaries. I used to do all sorts of late-night meetings. Now, I make people schedule a meeting during office hours. There is a rare exception/emergency, but that’s to be expected in ministry.
My encouragement and exhortation to you are to leave some margin in your schedule for the unexpected. Have time set aside in your calendar that is empty, so when the interruptions come (and they will), you’ll be able to get back on track.
So where do you go from here? Here’s an action item:
When you notice someone down, frustrated, hurt or just not themselves, you should take the initiative to ask if they need someone to talk to or how you can pray for them. When you’re in the midst of busy/office work and someone calls, texts, emails, IMs, or drops by your office, take the time to listen and serve.
Be the hands and feet of Christ to those you come in contact with, it’s what we’re called to do and you’ll be a better and more trusted, respected, and loved leader because of it.
So, confession time: Have you ever been in the midst of busy/office work and had someone drop by unannounced? How did you handle it? Do you have the presence of mind to be sensitive to the Spirit?