Every once in a while I decide to organize my life.   I file all the papers scattered around my office, delete old emails, reorganize my inbox folders, and sort the books on the bookshelf.  For a day or two I feel better about myself and slightly more efficient.  Within a week I am back to my old ways and feeling like I should reorganize my life.

What is it that makes for effective ministry at the personal and institutional level?  I have been to seminars that proclaim the virtues of time management.  There are the books and charts I have poured over outlining healthy organizational structures.  Well-meaning friends have advised me develop comprehensive policies and procedures.  All of this is good, but I sometimes wonder if all of this is a smoke screen designed to keep people and programs committed to ministry from following their call.

Some of the best advice I ever received was from a stranger.  It was his belief that we show value to others by choosing to waste time with them.  It is not surprising that potential employers shy away from hiring people who value wasting time and hanging out.  On one hand I understand this; effectiveness and efficiency are seen as opposite sides of the same coin.  This is too bad.

Hanging out or wasting time with other people are the activities that develop understanding and respect for the other.  When we understand and respect each other it becomes much simpler to work with each other.  In a world that is religiously pluralist, culturally diverse, and ideologically separated – understanding, compassion, and empathy will only emerge if we take the time to simply be with each other.  Wasting time together and hanging out without an agenda.

I cannot help but wonder what the impact would be if we started to value time together just hanging out over developing programs and structures?  I am not sure that Jesus ever started a program, but his time on earth just hanging out changed everything.



Filed under accomplish, ministry, relationship

5 responses to “Effective

  1. Glenn Runnalls

    In my mind it is not about hanging out vs. programs but about having events or programs that don’t rob or belittle the hanging out but in fact “require” you to hang out.

    I think this is one reason that DOOR is such a great program. The folk come in to “do” something significant together, but they are force to ‘hang out” because the usual ways of wasting time back home aren’t available to them.

  2. Glenn Runnalls

    but you could never get that many people to come together to just waste time and hang out. if they’re going to go away to waste time, they’ll visit Disneyland.

  3. Age

    Glenn, great bllog! Your right. Hanging out in authenticity does change everything. Scratch the hidden agendas, be who God created you to be.

  4. All I can say is thank you for this today.

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