Next to money, the most important thing to the discerning man or woman is Time. It is interesting to note that it is those who understand the value of this much wasted asset who usually fall within the mark of valuable workers in God's vineyard. The seeming 'inavailability' of time also poses challenges for spiritual service for both 'Appointer' and Appointee. The truth, however is found at the beginning of the appointment process. Do you take the diligence to find out if they can give the time you require? My advice usually is, “Before you appoint, check their time!”
Jesus said in Matthew 20 verse 28, "I came to serve", but in this jet age we find ourselves, spiritual service is suffering from benefits of development. The computer age has made so many things possible, and in the same stride made the time for spiritual service almost not feasible. While personal savings and investments grow, so do worries about the survival of the serving believer. Pastor Taiwo Odukoya once said, "Ministry is about people" But the fact remains that if no one serves, needs will not be met. it is the responsibility of church leadership to find ways around the problem of time for spiritual service. The issue of 'time to serve' can not be ignored and should definitely not be glossed over. It is a major factor in who will be available to do what in the church, when it is required.
A pastor asked at our Leading Leaders workshop, “How do we keep things running when traffic and time seems such a challenge to most of our unit leaders?” According to William Feather, "We all find time to do what we really want to do." I think to myself, "What do those same persons do in the same 'time-challenging' circumstances when they have to perform on their secular jobs?" They'll either find the time or make the time! And there are structures inplace to ensure they perform, but not so in the church. People are usually not held responsible or accountable for the time they volunteer to be involved in spiritual service. But this is a misnorma, and a harbinger of ineffectiveness in spiritual service.
Usually two factors are considered by most leaders when appointing persons to duties: Desire [zeal to serve] and Ability. In some cases however, only one is considered. But the pivotal issue of Availability [in other words, can you make the time?] is not usually seriously thrashed out, especially when it’s not on a 'paid-employee' basis.
A Leader owes it to his vision to give those he intends to appoint the opportunities to respond honestly and truthfully about their availability for spiritual duty. Failing to do this will lead to you either chasing your 'helpers' around or doing the work you've appointed others to do. Delegation suffers in principle when work is committed to persons who can't be there to do it. Giving them an opportunity to freely respond with a Yes or No if necessary opens the leader to identify possible areas of help to his people. A 'no' from a person who lacks delegation skills is a cry for help not a turn-down of 'divine opportunity'. It might mean a need for some mentoring, training, re-assignment or simply building up on a waiting list. He may not be ready today, but what about tomorrow?
Consider this scenario:
Bro B works a 9am to 7pm , Monday to Saturday executive job. He gets appointed as the Unit's secretary and is expected to be present at most meetings. Practically, he has just Sunday afternoons for himself and his family. So naturally, the 'secretaryship' begins to suffer, slow the unit down and his unit head begins to feel held back because Bro B is not usually available when he is needed. This problem may flow to other areas of the Unit's activities, and even affect any further administrative considerations of Bro B for other areas of duty in the church. You see, without getting to the root of his problem, Bro B may be labelled as 'not committed to the work', but that really is far from the truth.
The resolve the logjam a cooperative re-arrangement between the Unit head and Bro B is required. Let’s consider some 'damage control' options:
1. Present the problem of unavailability for duty and discuss with Bro B on moving him to another area of duty that fits his time schedule OR
2. Help Bro B work out the practice of delegation, by getting others involved with him in fulfilling his assignment [if he really wants to do the job!].
3. In the future, AVOID THIS PROBLEM. Ascertain the availability of persons you wish to appoint.
The truth is, leaders cannot justifiably blame a lack of commitment on their appointees if they never gave them a chance to willingly accept the job. The principle here is: take the time ascertain Desire, Ability plus Availability. While some cases will be exceptional, most situations will work on this principle with proper planning, sensible organization and smart strategies.The hours invested in helping that person get a grip of time to serve will yield fruit in the results to be produced. Leaders should constantly devise workable strategies. A head-minister once said, “When things don't go right, I am responsible.” As a leader, take responsibility for the structure you set up.
If sacrifice and living for others was the underlying principle of Jesus' life, today's leader must be quick to find solutions to time-challenges in spiritual service instead of blaming his appointees and unit members when things don't work out. Ensure your system looks out for your people. Solve their problems as much, and as well, as you can. You will be the happier for it.
God bless you richly!!
Tope A. Banjo
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