10 Balancing Acts in Ministry

Ministry is complex at times, and balancing responsibilities and passions is not always easy. Recognizing our obligations to deal with all of these issues below, here are some places where we may need to work on balance.

  1. Doing pastoral care vs. leading the organization. We can come across as aloof and uncaring as we focus on leading, or we can be so consumed with pastoral care that we never get anything else done – including time with God and time for equipping.   
  2. Focusing on private study vs. doing public ministry. “Winging it” when teaching on Sunday because we’ve been with people all week is not good, but nor is retreating to the office as if it were a monastic cave for study. 
  3. Prioritizing new members vs. concentrating on longer-term members. It’s easy to give more attention to new members, but we then too often neglect those who called us as leader in the first place.
  4. Doing evangelism vs. doing discipleship. I realize that both of these are connected when rightly understood and taught, but the balancing act is still a reality. Most of us lean in one direction.
  5. Budgeting for staff vs. budgeting for ministry and missions. Acceptable budget percentages for staffing vary somewhat in every situation, but it’s problematic when staff costs leave little for ministry and missions; on the other hand, treating staff members as if they’re called to be paupers is also a problem.
  6. Changing things too quickly vs. changing them too slowly. Too many pastors push change before people are ready, but others are so slow to change that they miss the opportunity.
  7. Spending time with family vs. being with the church family. These responsibilities don’t have to be mutually exclusive – and should not always be – but the tasks of ministry sometimes make these choices complex.  
  8. Reaching our neighbors vs. reaching the nations. The Great Commission demands that we do both, yet most of us favor one or the other – sometimes to the serious neglect of the other.
  9. Focusing on today vs. preparing for the future. Failing to plan at all seldom works well, but only thinking about tomorrow causes us to ignore needs around us today.
  10. Ministering to older folks vs. ministering to the young. We’re inclined toward those who are most like us, which means we sometimes miss part of the family of God.

What other balancing acts do you face? 

 

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