Limiting Your Access
I really enjoy following the blog of David Whiting. He is the pastor of Northridge Church in Rochester, New York. This is a pastor who understands hard work, church growth, discipleship, and leading his family with integrity. I know you'll enjoy his blog. Recently he wrote about the burdens of leading a large church. And one of the downsides he has found is having to limit his access. Here are some quotes I really appreciated from his post:
I've determined at this point of my life to only give up three nights a week for church-related meetings. I am doing all I can to be home four nights a week. I am in the final years of parenting teenagers. I want to do it well. It can't be done well without presence.
So smart. Many pastors won't draw this line. They buy in to the lie that the church needs them more than their family does. Nothing could be further from the truth. The strength of your leadership comes from your strength at home.
I've learned that people expect pastors to work around their schedule. It is interesting to me how often I will give someone a time to meet with me (based on a request) and they ask for a different time (a weeknight or weekend). If they wanted to see the dentist because they needed a root canal - they will go whenever the dentist can see them. They don't say to their dentist, "Can you do the root canal on Tuesday night or Saturday morning instead?" No, they will take the afternoon off of work to "meet" when the dentist is available.
Very true. And boldly stated!
I've learned that many people won't understand that I'm not available to do what they want me to do. They know I can't meet everyone's expectations, but they believe they are the exception. I've also learned that when I don't meet their expectations, it hurts their feelings.
I heard Bill & Lynne Hybels say, "We knew when we started a church we were going to disappoint a lot of people. We just decided that it would never be our kids who we disappointed." That takes boundaries and some thick skin.
I've learned that I need to strategically give my time to things that best help our church make more and better disciples. Therefore, I prioritize groups over individuals (more impact). And I prioritize leaders (trickle-down impact).
People will leave David's church because of this. But it is exactly the model that Jesus established. Yes, he spent time with the crowds, but he prioritized his private meetings and discretionary time with his leaders.
You will definitely want to read David's entire post.
Regardless of how many people you lead or how large your organization, do you limit your time doing everything so you can do a few things well?