The “2 or 3 evenings” principle

Over the past several weeks, I have been thinking about things every NEW church volunteer should know about the demands placed on them when entering any ministry setting.  The ideas that came to mind were great reminders for people who have been serving for any length of time.

The first principle is the amount of time that you and I are away from our families.  I was taught long ago that our first ministry efforts should go to our families.  The high demands of local churches create a tension and too often our families suffer.

You and I should not be at church functions more that 2 or 3 evenings per week!

This might be a new concept for you.  Let me offer a few reasons why anything additional could be unhealthy.  I want to challenge the habitual patterns we establish, not giving extra time during certain seasons of the year.  Every one of us can be stretched for seasons, providing we allow ourselves to bounce back to something more sustainable.

1.  You have a job.  Often, your job requires 40-45 hours of your week.  If you work more than 50 hours per week, you could already be out of balance and might have difficulties giving time to God.  God is honored most when our lives operate with margin and balance.

2.  You have a family.  Your spouse should come first.  If that is not the case, you are heading for a disaster in your family.  Please, I beg you, make time with your spouse a priority.  In addition, it is no secret that training our children for adulthood takes time and effort.  Please, your job is to train your children to be independent adults.  Nobody ever told you to say yes to everything.  In fact, we have the obligation to make sure our children know that an individual WILL tell them “no” as some point.

3.  You are one person.   This might be your profound thought for the day; you can only do so much.  Seriously, when it comes to ministry hours and your local church, people who want to serve will never do so without visible gaps in various ministry teams.  Think of it this way; you may be stealing what God has for another person because you refuse to leave any ministry gaps.

4.  You are not good at everything.  I learned a few years ago something that changed how I spent my ministry efforts.  The lesson doesn’t have a name, but the principle is doing what we’re good at and leaving the rest for another person or group.  For me, the task that I do at a “C” or “D” level tends to be delegated to another person who is better at that particular task.  I keep the tasks that I do at an “A” or “B” level because I want to be a person who gives my best to the kingdom of God.  The same could be true for you.  This doesn’t mean we don’t try to learn new things or improve in some other areas, but it does mean that we begin to learn our place in the kingdom of God and thrive in that place.

Further, if you and I spend more than three evenings a week at church functions, you’re probably not giving your best to anybody.  This is a concept that took many years of ministry to figure out.  Even when I was home, I was answering calls/texts/emails/etc.  I wasn’t fully present to any person, including my family.

I pray that you will evaluate how you spend your time.  Are you serving in a ministry where you don’t thrive?  Are you serving in a place that wears you out?  Are you serving on a ministry team that leaves space available for others?  Each of these are great questions that will help us give our best to God, our family and others.

I believe that God increase the impact of ministry teams and their efforts when we stop doing certain things and press on forward with other things.

I’d love to hear what other tips for new ministry volunteers you have.  Leave a comment below.