The Interruptions Aren’t Interruptions


by Pastor Greg Atkinson

I’m willing to bet as soon as you read the above headline, you said, “Oh, really? What about the sermons I have to write, the hospitals I have to make and the thousand other tasks waiting for me?” Yeah, I said it. When you get that knock on your door and look up to see someone standing in your doorway saying, “Do you have a moment?”—they are not interrupting your work. They ARE your work. Ministry is about people; it always has been and always will be.

One thing that bugs me is hanging out with pastors who say (not jokingly), “Ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people.” It pains my heart that pastors and other church leaders don’t grasp the simple truth that we are the body of Christ and every member of this body is special and important. We are called to shepherd God’s people. People are messy. Ministry means getting our hands dirty and yes, being bothered and interrupted.

IMPORTANT: This isn’t about whether you are an introvert or an extrovert; this is about being sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit, Who is always at work around us. As ministers, we should seek the opportunities to show and express Christ’s love to those we lead and serve.

Speaking of seeking opportunities: You have to be intentional. What does your weekly calendar look like? How many breakfasts, coffees and lunches do you schedule each week? I fill my calendar with “people meetings,” and have for 18 years. If you go from administrative meeting to meeting and never schedule any time with volunteers, visitors and staff, you are missing a crucial part of leadership and the opportunity to be God in the flesh to someone in need.

So, where do you go from here? Here is a suggested action step: When you notice someone down, frustrated, hurt or just not themselves, take the initiative to ask if they need someone to talk to or how you can pray for them.

Step two: When in the midst of sermon preparation or simply busy work and someone calls, texts, emails, IMs, or drops by your office, put that aside. Take the time to listen and serve. Be the hands and feet of Christ to those you come in contact with; it’s what we’re called to do. You will be a better and more trusted, respected and loved leader because of it.

© 2012 by Greg Atkinson. All rights reserved.

Greg Atkinson is the Campus Pastor at one of the campuses of Forest Park, a multi-site church based in Joplin, Missouri. This blog is excerpted from his new eBook, “Church Leadership 101.”

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