While serving a small church in a small town, I heard about pastors who ran themselves ragged to keep ahead of their parish's possibilities. My problem wasn't overwork. Mine was a loss of motivation for work that produced little progress. I coveted the stress of the too-fast life. Instead, I'd awake each morning to the question, "What should I do today?"
It wasn't that there was nothing to do, of course; there just wasn't much immediate reward for doing it. The church was small and certainly needed to grow, but the town was small, too, and my attempts at church growth always came up hard against the small town's barriers to change.
I was admonished in seminary to study diligently and preach good sermons. But in my little church, it soon became apparent that the extra time in my study didn't impress anyone; a simple Bible study seemed to please everyone as much as a sermon I'd worked on for days. People needed to be visited, but I had seen everyone in the parish, plus all of those ...1