My Rashionale: Can expectations for church members get out of hand?

My Rashionale: Can expectations for church members get out of hand?

Countless articles, books, TED Talks and all-day workshops offer the latest tips for reducing our daily stress — especially as the concept of achieving work-life balance has emerged among multiple generations.

With April being Stress Awareness Month it’s a good time to reflect on how we are handling the pressures of life. 

We all will walk through difficult seasons personally and professionally that spike our negative stress levels. And distractions are fierce these days so even during our most disciplined and balanced moments, we are likely to have days and weeks that don’t go as planned.

Still we choose our reactions and how we are going to handle what comes our way. 

For those of us who are believers in and followers of Christ we know our strength lies in Him. Consistent time in the Word and in prayer fortifies us for each day’s demands.

We also know those daily demands and other life pressures truly can wear us down, which in turn affects our emotional, mental and physical health.

Time management and health experts share basically the same suggestions over and over, year after year — create more margin, restrict commitments, get enough sleep, exercise, eat healthy foods, spend time with positive people and participate in fun activities.  

Another consistent tip coming from the experts is to delegate as much as possible to others. 

I do agree with the practice of team leaders delegating responsibilities among all members of the team. After all each member should be carrying his or her fair share of the load as part of being on the team.  

However, I do wonder if the art of delegation among friends, co-workers, church families, etc., has backfired a bit with most everyone attempting to delegate their personal responsibilities to others in their lives. 

Could the time management tip of delegating actually be misused and therefore causing more stress in our society?

Take church life for example. 

How many unnecessary responsibilities do church members expect the pastor and other staff members to carry? Are there day-to-day roles that could be managed by members of the congregation to allow the ministers more time and energy to focus on the big picture of leading the church?

And vice versa, do ministers always remember the stresses  of life their congregants face? 

While serving is part of a Christian’s DNA, is it possible the concept of service has been distorted by the level of expectations put on church members?

Schools, sports teams and other activities consume many students and parents alike. Work demands are ruthless, in most cases because we are all “doing more with less.” And on top of the excessive outside pressures, many families are in some sort of crisis internally. 

So when participating in church feels like another demand rather than an escape to reset, recenter and refill the spiritual tank, is it possible many in our congregations are only going through the motions?