What I Read Today;
2 Thessalonians 3; John 5; Isaiah 40; Psalm 73; Deuteronomy 9-10
Paul issues a warning to those who are sitting around doing nothing in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13.
The Apostle Paul worked as a tentmaker throughout his ministry. He supported himself and refused to be paid for preaching the Gospel. He worked extremely hard. In the churches, Paul had planted a problem that had begun surfacing. People were joining the church but not participating in the ministry of the church. Paul knew that this behavior would cause problems down the road. Eventually, those who were doing the work would burn out. Many who weren’t participating in the work of the church would become critics and gossips. You see, Paul understood human nature.
We have the same problem today. 90% of the work is completed by 10% of the members. This behavior causes significant problems. Those performing the work become angry and tired. In some instances, those who are doing the work leave the church. When they go, the ministries they were working in fall apart. Why, because the critics are still there, and not one person will continue the work they left behind.
There are three issues in play here.
The first is that the people in the 10% should recognize that this is normal. They should also be empowered to say no. They can’t do it all and shouldn’t be asked to. If you are burning out, tell your Pastor, and take a break. Step away and spend time feeding yourself in the word. When your ready, then come back. Better yet, before you get to that point, pick a ministry you love and don’t get talked into things you don’t enjoy as much.
Second, churches need to ensure that they are not overburdening their members with ministries they simply can not support. There are too many needs in every community. God is not calling a particular congregation to solve every problem. Leaders need to find the niche for their congregation and not open any new ministry efforts unless there is a solid group to support that effort. That means more than one person.
Finally, those who are constant critics need to be confronted. People who are allowed to sit on the sidelines and complain will become festering wounds. While sometimes the right thing to do is to ignore them, other occasions require a confrontation. I watched a small group of “board members,” who had sat back and watched a ministry nearly implode, go after and destroy two leaders. Despite the leaders coming to the rescue and saving this children’s ministry, the critics continued carping and criticizing to the point where the leaders left. The children’s ministry nearly disintegrated when the leaders left. It was on life support until the board could be voted out and replaced.
When people are leaving because of backbenchers, you have to confront the backbenchers.