The Rhythms of Life and Church

Posted: June 24, 2009 in Leadership, Living Stones Church, vision

God intended there to be rhythms to life.  It is marked even by the rotation of planets, moons, solar systems.  We have night and we have day.  We have hours to be awake, and we have hours in which to sleep.  We have days to work, and we have instructions to take a day to “sabbath.”  We have seasons in the year.  To not observe the rhythms is neither healthy nor good.

The same is true of churches.  Although I knew this going into my vacation last week, I came back more convinced than ever that there are seasons that should be observed or there are consequences.  Things like:

  • Leaders (especially who serve volunteer) who are burned out with the constant demand.
  • Spouses and children who are neglected (and growing resentful) because of yet another night of meetings or other ministry obligation taking place.
  • Growing exhaustion and fatigue that short-circuits enthusiasm, joy, and creativity.
  • Missed opportunities of relaxation and fun with friends and/or family.
  • Teams who grow agitated with one another, not because of true conflict, but due to frayed nerves from yet another event, another task, and another “to-do” list.

Last summer here at the Living Stones Church , it didn’t feel much like a summer (which in church life normally does slow down to a degree).  It was action packed.  In a span of a few months we had a Vacation Bible School followed-up with a big message series on parenting, followed-up by going to two services, followed up by an even bigger message series on sex.  All of this involved A TON of volunteers, a ton of time, a ton of energy, and a ton of resources.  The result:  the summer was over and our leadership team was exhausted.  I’m not sure we recovered the rest of the year from residual fatigue.

I remember resolving at the end of summer 2008 that we wouldn’t do summer of 2009 in the same manner.

And so…we won’t.

This summer we have made a couple of decisions:

1.  We have asked all of our ministry leaders to observe the summer.  That doesn’t mean everything stops and we take a break from church and its ministries.  But it is to be continually mindful of any additional pressures, demands, and expectations on our volunteers and ministry teams.  Sometimes for leaders to pause or take a break feels like you are going to a) go backwards; b) miss something really important; c) or prove life really can go on without you (trust me…I didn’t take one for the first six months of the year)…and leaders need to be told…it is OK to take a break and rest.

2.  We will NOT be doing a Vacation Bible School this year.  I’m sure this is regrettable to our children and to many parents.  Our VBS has been a big deal to us.  It was the first thing we did in regards to truly turning outward and inviting relationship with our neighborhood and community.  I have LOVED every VBS we have done over the past four years.  But as I have watched our children’s ministry team push themselves to extreme measures to accomplish a BRAND NEW thing with Kid’s Kanyon…new space, new curriculum, new policies, new leadership, new team, and then working out the kinks of a growing ministry in the process…it would be UNWISE AND RIDICULOUS to lay on them the additional task of putting together a massive Vacation Bible School.  I don’t care to say in August of 2009, “Wasn’t this year’s VBS fantastic?  By the way, we are in need of a new children’s ministry team because ours just quit.”

3.  We are suspending Growth Groups for the summer semester (July-August).  We won’t do this every year.  I have some mixed feelings even as we made this decision (especially because by all measurements – statistical and in story – our Spring semester was the best we’ve ever had).  But as we have just come off a BUSY spring with completion of Kid’s Kanyon space, baptismal celebrations, new ministries, growth, etc., the best we can discern…another night in the evening or weekend available for rest, family, and friends seems appropriate.  Having said that, we still want to encourage people to remain engaged in community.  There are A TON of ways to connect within Living Stones Church that doesn’t necessitate a formal growth group structure.  Get together with friends – have a game night, go to a ball game, go to a movie (unless you are a group of guys and the movie is a chick flick), do something fun, etc.  But let it be summer.

(Effective June 21st…it is summer) 🙂

  1. Julie C says:

    I second that motion, Sam! You read my mind. It’s easier to stay connected with God when we still have time to do so!

    See you around…

    PS I’ll be at the meeting tonight.

  2. Lori says:

    I love the insight you bring to church issues that most people don’t think about until it becomes a conflict.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s