Plates Spinning, Hamster Wheel, Insert Metaphor Here

  • hampster.jpg

I’ve been tired lately.

There are reasonable explanations I’m sure:  I’m getting older.  I pretty much never exercise.  I’m addicted to the presidential election coverage late into the night.

But my tiredness comes at a price to two important sets of people:  Those I love and those I lead.  So, I have to find a way out of it. 

Anyone who works in a church knows your rhythm is weekly.  Sunday is always coming…never more than 6 days away.  But it is just one in the mix of rhythms that I struggle to juggle:

-The grind of email.  I’m probably like most people.  I get about 300 messages a week.  About 1/3 of those are read and delete, 1/3 are quick response and done, and 1/3 require some type of thoughtful response.  I don’t dread email…but I find every free moment has a magnetic pull to dig out of my inbox (which serves as a quasi to-do list)…just hopping to get it down under 20 messages.  Right now it’s at 61.

-The grind of meetings.  When I start every week, I go into it with about 20 hours of meetings already scheduled on my calendar.  This is everything from staff meeting to worship review meetings to meetings with individual staff or departments.  They happen daytime and evening.

-The grind of sermon prep.  I block 12 hours of this on my calendar each week.  If only it fit so nicely into my schedule.  For the last 3 years I’ve let this time be invaded by almost everything…email, pastoral care, phone calls, staff needing to talk, etc.  I’ve committed not to do that in 2008, but honestly I’m struggling with that.  This is also hard because I need inspiration to prepare messages…that’s hard to schedule.

-The grind of Sunday morning.  Because of my approach, I walk out of our house at 5:45am, get to the church at 7:30, teach in 3 services, interact pastorally between them and usually walk out by 1:15pm.  It’s my favorite day of the week, but this 7 1/2 hours is more taxing on me than the days that are 16 hours.

The juggling really comes into play for me when the moving parts of life have varying rhythms:

-Most meetings are weekly.

-Some meetings are every other week (elders/multi-site/genesis team/etc.)

-Some are monthly (Business Management team/Area ministers meeting/New Thing network conference calls/etc.)

-Some are quarterly (one day staff retreats/Group and Ministry Leaders/partnership teams for our church plants/etc).

Pastoral care is rarely scheduled and if I’m the pastor involved, it’s probably a crisis, death or someone I also have a friendship with (which takes a personal toll).  Then funerals, weddings…and those 100 emails that still need a thoughtful reply.  My best move in the last year has been to really limit meetings I have to travel for (though with church plants it still does exist).  Jenny and I still host a Suncrest Community Group (which we love) and I teach for that every other week. 

After just typing all of that, I’m remind why “tired” doesn’t mean depressed.  I think I have the greatest job in the world. 

And even if I didn’t, I still have the greatest wife, son, and daughter in the world…and they are getting as much or more of me than they ever have because of some boundaries I’ve finally established in this crazy life.  I just want to make sure they are getting the best of me…not a tired dad.

~ by Greg Lee on February 2, 2008.

3 Responses to “Plates Spinning, Hamster Wheel, Insert Metaphor Here”

  1. Thank you for all you do. I will pray for rest and relaxation, and a smaller inbox for you! :+)

  2. I’m remembering all of our conversations about email on the flights to Restoration House. Your inbox has always needed extra room! I’m praying that you’ll continue to find balance and live within the boundaries you’ve created for the sake of your family, church and calling… and of course your own sanity. : ) It is interesting that you posted this on Groundhog Day. : ) Reminds of me of that Dayspring program we did based on the movie… it repeated itself over & over again, sometimes like ministry. Also makes me think of Farmer. : ) Thanks for the entry… reminds me to keep things in balance.

  3. I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU for all that you do for Suncrest! Please know that we do not take that for granted. You have been used by God to change our lives over the past year that we have been coming to Suncrest! Thank you for being a faithful leader. God bless!!!

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