OK, so let’s say you’ve given yourself the seemingly trivial task of having an empty inbox. It’s actually a great goal, and it certainly gives me a great sense of being on top of things when it happens.
Easy, right? So why does it feel increasingly hard to achieve? Not just hard, but increasingly hard?
Because of what we noticed about delegation here The more senior you become in any organisation, including a church, the more the things you have to deal with will become more difficult, because the things that are easier have been dealt with by someone else.
I mean, as a pastor, you’re still prepping sermons, meeting up 1:1 and so on – that doesn’t change. But when you add even a part time secretary, the emails you need to respond become subtly different. Three may be fewer of them (on a good day), but each one will require more of your attention, and no-one else’s.
Which means that the ten emails in your inbox this morning will each require you to focus more than the ten emails you had this time last year. The days of a quick ‘yup’ email decrease. The costs of getting the reply wrong, rise.
This is a good thing. Jesus promised that he would reward faithfulness with increased work (Matthew 25:23), and although that is a last-day truth, it seems to begin to work out here as well. Isn’t it the case that we become aware of the increased responsibility of each successive sermon?
So don’t despair. It’s not that the floodwaters are rising faster, or that you’re slowing down.
It’s just that at each level, there’s a new responsibility, and you need to learn new skills to achieve the same results.