(Adapted from a Lead Like Jesus blog)
We hear a lot about striving in the Scriptures. Strive for restoration of relationships (2 Corinthians 13:11). Strive to do what is good (1 Thessalonians 5:15). Strive together in prayer (Romans 15:13). Strive to build up the church (1 Corinthians 14:12). Strive for self-control (1 Corinthians 9:25). And, strive for peace with everyone (Hebrews 12:14). However, there isn’t a lot of Scripture related to stress. The most notable are Jesus’ words about anxiety: Do not be anxious about anything because He will take care of us (Matthew 6:25). The apostle Paul reiterates that same concern for our wellbeing when he encourages us to go to the Lord Jesus in prayer whenever we feel overwhelmed (Philippians 4:6).
We’re all familiar with stress, that feeling of emotional or physical tension. Some of us handle stress better than others. Some of us are motivated by stress and feel we do our best work when we’re under pressure. Stress is important in small doses to keep us safe, to meet challenges, or to finish a project. But when stress spills over into anxiety, suffering and pain, we’re in the danger zone. As church leaders, we have to ask ourselves what kind of atmosphere are we creating in our family, our church, our work environment, our organizations, our committee meetings? Is it one of healthy striving? Or instead, are we putting so many demands on ourselves and the people around us that we are stressing out everyone? The balance is sometimes elusive; but it’s the balance between striving and stress that allows us to continue to encourage excellence in reaching our goals.
As we begin our 2020 charge conference season, are you experiencing striving or stressing? No, I’m not talking about the pastor(s)! I’m talking about your lay leadership and the state of the church. How many of you would have considered yourselves fully qualified to chair a virtual meeting; to attend, speak up, and volunteer at a Zoom ministry event; or to declare your church’s finances as solvent without anybody attending a worship service in five or six months? How many of you attended meaningful worship through livestream, Facebook, or conference calls; participated in bible study in the backyard, parking lot, or Zoom; or donated food, school supplies, and clothing to neighborhood and community centers? I’m convinced we’re striving, not stressing!
So, ask your pastor when your charge conference is scheduled – and hear how your local church is striving to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
John Meeuwissen, Lay Leader