When I was leading with IVCF in college, I figured something out. I should say, first of all, that I loved leading with IVCF and look back on it with nothing but fondness. That said, my sophomore year I sat and made a list of everything they wanted me as a small group leader to be doing.Weekly small group, daily prayer meetings, daily quiet times, meeting with group members, meeting with co-leaders, etc., etc. I came up with something like 50 hours a week.
That’s when I realized I couldn’t do everything and that no one really expected me to. But this never seemed to be mentioned or talked about – and I found the same to be true when I transitioned from college ministry to church ministry. It seemed like I was supposed to read my Bible, pray, have a mentor, be mentored, go to classes, listen to tapes, be in an accountability group, go to retreats, launch a new ministry, support missionaries, fast, meditate, be a small group leader, volunteer in the nursery, share my faith, pray for healing, pray for revival, feed the poor, oppose racism, and bring my faith into the workplace all at the same time.
And again, nobody really expected me to do all these things. But nobody seemed to talk about the fact that this was actually the case. Now, on one hand, trying to do all these things and stay super-busy wasn’t bad. I actually think that seasons of crazy busy-ness can be healthy. It’s how you learn things about yourself. But those seasons have to end at some point.
So, if we can’t do everything, how do we figure out what to do? I have a few thoughts and would be curious as to how you navigate this.
First, do a lot of what you like. I suppose this seems obvious, but maybe it’s worth saying. Jesus said he came to give us life to the full.
Second, do a few things that challenge you. You can’t grow without being stretched a bit, so this is always an important part of it.
Third, stay focused outwardly. Care about people who don’t go to church. Care about the poor. Care about your neighbors. Don’t just focus on the people who are already “in.” Otherwise you get spiritually sick.
How do you go about not doing everything?