Many of us have a complicated relationship with time. When it comes to individuals who work in ministry, a strong majority of our participants identify Time & Diversity of Tasks as a Core Satisfier. On the other hand, nearly half identify Time & Workload Strain as a Core Stressor, making it our most frequent Core Stressor.
In other words, while ministry life often provides time-related perks, such as flexibility, the ability to adjust a schedule on short notice, and the opportunity to be involved in a wide range of tasks and projects, it also comes with time-related strains. These include not enough time for pastoral care, leisure activities, or personal relationships; having to work evenings, weekends, and holy days as the norm; and being stretched too thinly over a range of tasks and projects.
In all likelihood, every ministry role will come with a certain amount of time-related stress. However, the positive aspects of how many ministry jobs are oriented around time can be cause for celebration, and the lens through which we explore and navigate the more difficult aspects of this reality.
Prompts for Reflection:
- What would you identify as the most positive part of your current relationship with time?
- What would you identify as the most difficult part of your current relationship with time?
- If you are currently experiencing the joy of your relationship to Time and the diversity of tasks you are involved in, what is helping foster this? Make note of what contributes to this satisfaction. Consider how you might protect or maintain this satisfaction.
- If you are particularly feeling a sense of Time & Workload Strain, are you able to identify one place where you could make a change?* Perhaps a project that you can excuse yourself from, or a part of a day to commit to leisure on an ongoing basis.
*Whenever we invite you to reflect on possibilities for change, we recommend that changes be attempted one at a time. There are two reasons for this: (1) trying to change too much at one time may increase your stress level rather than improving your experience of ministry life; and (2) it will be difficult to figure out which change in which aspect is having a positive (or unexpected negative) effect if you are attempting to change several aspects simultaneously.