Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Pastoral Visits

Juggling Sheep has a good post today on Efficiency vs. Effectiveness. I believe that your ministry is the most important thing you'll do in life.

Ministry starts with your personal ministry to God (i.e, glorifying Him and enjoying Him forever), your ministry to (and through) your family, and then your ministry to (and through) the local church. From there of course we minister in the community and the world.

I do most non-hospital pastoral visitation on Mondays, and I'm able to meet with our homebound, sick, and other folks who need such a visit on a 6 week rotation. The folks I visited yesterday will see me again in about 6 weeks. Some Mondays are packed with four or five 30-45 minute visits in which we pray, catch up on church news and chat about needs. Other days are two or three 60-90 minute visits in which another famliy member stops by, lunch is served, random stories are told, gardening is discusses, etc.

Both visits are valuable, and I don't know what kind of visit I'll have until I arrive. Frankly, the efficiency side of me says, "pack 'em in, get in and get out and move on..." but the effective side says, "this may be the only visit they have all week, listen and look for an opportunity to love."

When I've balanced the rest of my pastoral duties such as studying, evening events, and sermon prep, then it doesn't matter what kind of visit it is-- I'm present and available. If I've goofed off and wasted God's time, though, I'm rushed, aloof, and ineffective.

By being efficient with our time, we have the freedom to be effective with people. How do efficiency and effectiveness play out in your work life...home life...personal life?

Image: buy-back-your-time.com


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