I’ve come out of hiding since the service last week (went fishing up the Bitterroot) and I just wanted to say thank you to all of you for doing an EXCELLENT job! I think it was quite an accomplishment to pull that off with no major hitches. I know it took an immense amount of work, but I think it was worth it. We have several people/families that are interested in becoming a part of RCC.
Now, if we had to do it that way every week I would last about 1 month before I burned out and had to go to counseling. I’m sure most of you would feel the same way. I know that it was stressful at times, and that we’re all tired. The good news is that the next time we do it, it won’t take nearly as much effort. I’m sure we’ll get more efficient and that it will become second nature after a while.
I think this exercise brings up a good question though. How do we as leaders keep from burning out like so many we’ve known? Is that really God’s will for our lives, to work our butts off for His kingdom until we’re totally exhausted and can’t do anything more? I doubt it. In my opinion, most leader burnout can be avoided. Most of the time, it’s our own fault for burning out. Here’s why.
I see the mission of Christian leaders as one purpose, but two tiered. As Christians, the first tier of our mission is to make disciples of all nations:
Matthew 25:18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.
This doesn’t mean that we personally disciple every person that walks in the door of River City Church. We are each to disciple a handful of people who in turn will do the same, just like Jesus did. So, as church leaders the second tier of our mission is to raise people up so that they will do the work of the ministry (i.e., make disciples):
Ephesians 4:1It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
In other words, it’s not our job to do all the work! We’re supposed to raise up people to do the work. We’re the coaches, the trainers, the mentors, whatever you want to call us.
The reason I’m bringing this up is that the reason most leaders burn out is that they are not good at delegating and making disciples. We often try to do everything on our own. I know I’m guilty of this at times. Why? Sometimes we’re perfectionists and we aren’t willing to give others the freedom to do things “the wrong way” and make mistakes. Other times we just don’t know how to make disciples. I can’t help you with the former, but I think I can with the latter.
Really, our job with this church plant is to recruit people to do our jobs for us. There are lots of ways to recruit people, you’ll just have to be creative about it. You definitely cannot recruit people if you are not actively seeking out people. This I know for sure. Some of the recruiting will happen during our services, but I think that most of the recruiting will happen outside of “church” during our regular lives. As we live in community with one another and others we will have the opportunity to meet people and eventually take them under our wing. Imagine if each of us found just one person to mentor, and taught each of these people to mentor only 1 other person. Can you imagine how fast RCC would grow, and in a healthy way?! We have to be intentional about it though.
Let’s truly try and be creative about how we do things, rather than just work harder. There is no doubt there is going to be sacrifice on each of our parts. A church plant doesn’t happen without some good hard work. But this sacrifice of time should only be temporary until we can find others to come along side of us and share the load.