Ministry Burnout - Are you doing someone else's part?

"Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." Romans 12:4-5

photo courtesy  weirdvis,
I've heard this verse used many times to remind us that each of us have a part to play in the church (the body of Christ). Each of us is blessed with gifts, talents and abilities that qualify us to fulfill specific needs in the church and if each one of us will use those gifts, the body functions just as it was meant to function. That's the usual application of this verse and it's spot on, but today I saw a different side of it.

Not only do members not all have the same function, no one member has everything it takes to do every job in the church and yet, it's common to see one person filling several rolls within the church, just because there's a need, just because they're available or just because no one else has stepped up.

There's so much wrong with that picture that I don't know where to begin. First, that "do-it-all" person is going to burn out. Second, that person will do their best, but probably not do as well as someone who has been gifted in a particular area would do. Third, if they keep stepping into the roles that others were meant to fulfill, they are thwarting the will of God.

Now, that's a shocking statement. Most of us (yes, I'm including myself) think that if we volunteer (willingly or out of guilt or need) that we are doing God's will, but that's not so. It's not God's will for one person to be stretched so thin that ministry becomes drudgery. It's not God's will that some people don't step up because they are lazy, or because the position seems to already be filled.

I can hear what you're saying..."but if I don't do it, it won't get done." I know because, that's what I've said, but really, God is capable of bringing others in to do the work, isn't He? If it's something He wants done, He will provide the worker. Maybe we just have too many projects going.

As for me, I have learned when to say no and when to say yes. I've learned to identify those things that God wants me involved in and those things that are not where He wants me. That doesn't always make others happy, but I believe it makes God happy when I'm not overloaded and angry about doing way more than my share of work while others just sit.

So, what are your thoughts on this matter?

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(Copyright© 2012 Jan Christiansen. All rights reserved.)


Tresa Walker said...

One of the hardest lessons for me to learn was that it is ok to say no when its not within my gift. And yes Jan, God does always work it out without us. Great post!

Jan Christiansen said...

That is a hard lesson to learn. Mostly because often times people make you feel guilty for saying no. I'm still working on that part. Thanks for stopping by, Tresa and for taking the time to comment.