Ministering Amid Pandemonium


As technological progress continues, it axiomatically leads to increasing rates of stress, overload, complexity, and change, speed,
debt, and meaninglessness. Yet how can we protect ourselves, or families and our churches from the exhaustion and burnout of our age? The following suggestions may provide some relief, both for you and for those you minister to.

Put more control in your life.

Learn to laugh

Generate good will. The greatest thing we can do to buffer ourselves against the ravages of stress is to continually spread good will to those around us.

Limit negatives. Stop negative self-criticism. Limit your time with negative people.

Stop digging. If you’re in a hole, the first rule is to quit digging. If you’re overloaded, start saying “NO!”

Accept your limitations. God is the author of limitations, and He gave them to us for our protection. We violate them at our peril. Defend you boundaries. Establish appropriate boundaries and defend them against the onslaught of an extraordinarily demanding world.

Prune the activity branches. Like new branches on a fruit tree, additional activities and commitments add themselves to our lives every year, often without our permission.

Value simplicity. No one ever lived a simpler, more unencumbered than Jesus. De-accumulate. Everything we own also owns us. Each possession must be cared for, maintained and paid for.

Control the “paper tumor.” Every year the amount of paper and information it contains seems to metastasize without pity. When at all possible, use the “OHIO” rule – “Only Handle It Once.”

Restrain technology. Maintain a healthy skepticism of any new technology and don’t buy it unless you can control it.

Value traditions. Identify the traditions in your personal, family and church life that have special significance and protect them vigorously.

Establish stability zones. People generally benefit from having certain areas in their lives where change is kept to a minimum, and stability and reliability are assured.

Move less often. Church leaders are often called on to relocate frequently. But at a time when the rest of the world continues to
change so wildly, leaders who have a choice may want to consider the benefits of greater longevity in one position.

Consciously slow your pace. Despite what you might think, it really is possible to slow down. We just have to say NO more often.

Scrutinize “timesaving” technologies. Most timesaving devices don’t actually save time.

Control interruptions. The average manager in America, according to one study, is interrupted 75 times a day. Because the telephone is the primary culprit in this mischief, find creative ways to disarm it.

Practice contentment. Although contentment is commanded and commended in Scripture, it is rarely practiced among today’s Christians.

Subtract from your “needs” and desire less. There are two ways to get enough. One is to continue to accumulate more and more. The other is to desire less. Tune out advertisements. Wage war against advertisements, most of which are designed for no other purpose than to create a need.

Decrease your debt. Debt is a noose, and Satan is the hangman. Resist the consumptive lifestyle, and avoid impulse buying.

Create a margin of emotional energy. Pay close attention to the vitality of your relationships.

Create a margin in your use of time. Get less done, but do the right things. Set aside time to relax, but be available when the
interruptions are for the purpose of God.