When I got turned down following a job interview, I remember God saying to me “I don’t want you to apply to anything for while, just wait.” Waiting to God isn’t doing nothing, it’s being in that Upper Room with the disciples, seeking his face until he moves, so I did exactly that. It brought me so much joy. Praying, singing, walking, talking and pressing into his presence made me present, present to those around me and to the voice of God. It made me trust in God and experience that he is really enough. God spoke, I slowed down, paid attention and discovered more of him.
I keep on having conversations with people about the busyness of ministry life. When I challenge the busyness, questions like, “Who else is going to do it?” or statements like “But there are no more volunteers” and “Everything I do is important, and for God’s kingdom” come my way. These are of course valid questions and statements, but they reveal our human effort and not God’s power to be in our weakness. They are all pointing to us being the sole fixers of everything rather than God - it’s pride. Our response to busyness is something found in every corner of the Church that I have the privilege of being part of, and no doubt other areas too. What worries me the most is that as pioneers, we’ve adopted the busyness of the more established churches; it just looks different. We get wrapped up in innovation and challenging the norms, forgetting that we are called to discover more of Jesus, to hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit and to walk in the shoes of peace that God has given us. It’s not just a problem for the Church, it’s a problem for our society. Busyness is equated with success. Please don’t get me wrong, busyness for a time may be needed, but busyness every day of every week is making us tired and burnt out.
Andrew Root and Blair D. Betrand in their book ‘When Church Stops Working: A Future for your Congregation beyond More Money, Programs, and Innovation’ write about resonance being the antidote to busyness; taking the time to actually stop and be present and in the moment. I’ve not finished the book yet, but its first few chapters have already got me thinking. If our own pride is making us busy, it’s humility that we need. Root and Betrand link resonance with waiting and humility: ‘Humility… is a surrender, stopping and confessing that having more cannot save us or our Church. In humility, you confess you need something outside your own energy, outside your own creativity, to save you. You die to yourself by confessing you’re in need of a saving you can’t accomplish from your own striving for more.’ (p.47) I think they nailed it. At this point in time when the world and ‘the church’ are being busy, we are called to slow down and be resonant, to pay attention and wait on God, to admit that we can’t fix everything, and that God is enough. Let’s be pioneering and counter cultural by leading from a place of humility and trust in God. Let’s stop the busyness and be resonant.
Jo Allen Director: South West