The Epidemic of Busyness
We live margin-less lives. Our personal, professional and church calendars are full to over-flowing. As a matter of fact, busyness for many is a badge of honor. The busier we are, the more important we feel. We take it as a compliment when people say about us, “They work all the time. They are just so busy!”
Our culture is fast-paced. People in many places around the world shake their heads in disbelief and maybe even disapproval as they note how we Americans cram our lives with activity. We Americans are spoiled by the sheer number of options that are available to us each and every day. If we can, it seems we feel we must.
Ministry and mission are not done in a vacuum. They are always carried out in specific context and affected by local, national and increasingly, global contextual factors. Understanding the context of ministry is not optional for 21st century leaders. While we know a great deal about the inside of congregations, church leaders often have limited understanding of the external factors that are reshaping mission and ministry. Trying to lead without both inside and outside information is like a bird trying to fly with only one wing.
Peter Drucker often spoke of “the futurity of present events.” That is, if you want to understand the future, look at the reality of events that have already happened. Here are eight “present reality” shifts in the U.S. culture that are affecting the context of ministry.
Here goes. I know I am going to make some enemies, but I can’t stop myself. I am about to incite a powerful army of zealots. Many will shake their heads in disbelief at my ignorance and naiveté and look at me with pity. Some will choose to shun me from this day forward. A few will become defensive and attack me. I know all this, but I can’t stop myself.
A couple of months ago the President of the organization for which my wife, Gwyn, raises money decided that everyone on staff would switch to Macs. Soon a stylish box containing a sleek, white computer arrived at our home. Just holding it made you feel smart, sophisticated and superior.
This morning on my way to my first appointment I found myself following a car with the following vanity license plate; “UNBIAS 1”.
As I pondered what might motivate someone to pay extra to declare to the world their universal neutrality on all subjects, something occurred to me.