3 Distractions That Stunt Growth in Ministry
Do you ever feel like the day flies by and you haven’t accomplished anything? Yeah, I’ve had that feeling too. In fact, it’s something I’ve often struggled with and that’s why a few weeks ago I attended a webinar on the 7 Deadly Sins of Productivity.
During that webinar, I realized that while I am constantly learning different ways of being productive, I was also sabotaging my own productivity by:
Inviting Distractions Into My Life
What I thought was helping me (e.g., listening to music while I write) was actually slowing me down. In fact, there are several distractions that we invite or allow in our ministry without even knowing it. A few of those are:
1. Interpersonal Distractions
These are distractions that deal with people. It’s the coworker who constantly knocks on your door. It’s the parent that calls obsessively. It’s a teen’s drama that demands your attention. We think we’re being open and friendly, but if we aren’t careful they can take over. To eliminate these distractions you need to:
- Communicate your boundaries. Let people know when you are and aren’t available. You should rarely cross those boundaries.
- Expand your capacity with people. The more you build up your core team and volunteer base, the more available you’ll be to others. Instead of taking everyone on you’ll be able to spread the responsibility.
Again, make sure you communicate and remember it’ll take time for people to catch on to your schedule. Be flexible and understanding.
2. Visionary Distractions
These are distractions that interfere with your goals. These distractions might be caused by:
- An event that competes: Competing systems will be a huge distraction. You constantly try to balance both and find yourself failing. Focus on what’s most important: “Does this lead us towards or away from our mission?”
- Misaligned team members: If people in your ministry do not see eye to eye with your vision then they’ll slow down your progress. It doesn’t mean they are bad people, it just means they aren’t a right fit for your team.
We don’t want competing systems or misalignment, but we tend to invite them in when we are afraid of saying the word “No.” These distractions also get invited in when we refuse to check in and analyze our teams and programs.
To avoid this, make sure you are measuring what you are doing and constantly investing in the team. When you identify any type of misalignment, address it immediately before it grows out of control.
3. Personal Distractions
It’s great when you can involve your family in the ministry and your ministry with your family. Sadly, those boundaries can get crossed easily. To make sure there are boundaries, you need to:
- Communicate with those around you. Let them know when you have busy seasons and when you are free.
- Be sure to make your day off an actual day off. Take vacation when you can be completely focused on your personal relationship.
- Build a support network focused on just your personal life. Make sure there are people outside of the office who can help you with your relationships and personal goals.
Again, it’s great to have your family invest in your ministry and vice versa, but there do need to be times when you keep them separated, otherwise you’ll find resentment grow between the two.
Distractions will occur in your ministry because Satan wants to take it down. While we can’t prevent every one, we can prevent many of them. Look at your boundaries, review your systems and build solid relationships so that you aren’t unintentionally inviting a distraction into your life.