Friday, 5 March 2010

Rest - exhaustion as a badge of honour?

One of the conclusions that Sean Gubb came to in his survey of lead elders is that overall the (Newfrontiers) movement scores more highly in the scale of emotional exhaustion. Some of this emotional draining can come from working outside our gift. Also he discovered that most of the leaders want to be preachers and teachers. They don’t want to be managers, administrators or fund-raisers for the churches. However, for church planters and those leading smaller churches (which make up 80% of our movement) a ‘generalist’ gift is what is needed. A bit of everything to cover all the bases until such time as the church grows to a point where you can delegate some tasks. Meanwhile you will be more easily drained by those areas that you are less confident about and not so gifted in.

When it comes to meetings – especially strategy meetings - I could sit in them all day. I can go from 8am to 10pm and find that the whole day has fuelled me. That’s just the way I’m wired. My team, however, have other gifts and other areas that energise them. If we’re in meetings all day, by mid-afternoon they are trying hard to stay focussed and with me. But if your expectation of what full-time Christian ministry really involves is different from your experience then that will add to the emotional drain on your life.

Could I go as far as to say that we could fall into the trap of seeing exhaustion as a badge of honour? When was the last time you spoke to a lead elder and in response to your question, ‘How are you doing?’ the reply was, ‘I’m remarkably fresh. I just feel totally on top of everything. My wife is loved. My children are getting quality time. I’ve got time to enjoy life while the church is prospering.’ I don’t think there would be many conversations like that!