Have you ever had someone come and talk to you and you find yourself totally distracted by whatever task that you are working on?
I remember it like it happened yesterday. I was in my office preparing for a big youth ministry event I had coming up when one of the volunteers that helped me out called my phone out of the blue. She was having some personal/ministry problems and she wanted some advice.
I politely listened, but found myself so distracted by the task I was working on that I was trying to listen and type on the computer at the same time. Needless to say, this was not an effective way to listen to my volunteer.
She was going into this story about some of the other volunteers that she works with and some of the challenges that they were having. It was definitely my role to help mediate these types of conflict in the ministry, but I was barely listening.
She finally called me out on it. “John, are you typing on your computer?” She caught me. She knew that I was not listening. I profusely apologized, stopped typing, and focused solely on my phone conversation with her.
I’m a task-oriented person. I want to get the job done. I plan my day in advance to make sure that all the stuff I want to get done gets done. In the ministry world, it does not take much to throw my day off.
It just takes one person needing me to listen.
So what do I do? Do I listen and focus on them or do I continue on my task list and schedule them on my calendar for another more convenient time?
The answer is obvious. Ministry is about relationships. The relationship with those I minister to and with always comes first. But I’ve had to find that right balance.
And I still struggle.
And I always will.
The one way I know that helps me keep perspective is, at the moment someone needs my time, I pray to God for the ability to focus my full attention on them and not on my task list.
I will be praying that prayer until the day I die.
Question: How do you balance task and relationships in your ministry?
Here is a summary of posts for the “The 7 Most Important Leadership Lessons I’ve Learned in Ministry” series:
- The 7 Most Important Leadership Lessons I’ve Learned in Ministry
- It All Starts With God: Lesson #1 of the 7 Most Important Leadership Lessons I’ve Ever Learned
- Just Keep Growing: Lesson #2 of the 7 Most Important Leadership Lessons I’ve Ever Learned
- Success Isn’t Forever and Failure Isn’t Fatal: Lesson #3 of the 7 Most Important Leadership Lessons I’ve Ever Learned
- How To Measure Success in Ministry: Lesson #4 of the 7 Most Important Leadership Lessons I’ve Ever Learned
- My Attitude Makes The Difference: Lesson #5 of the 7 Most Important Leadership Lessons I’ve Ever Learned