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Using People

The dark side of efficiency

Efficient. Practical. How often we hear these words applied to ministry. This may reflect our desire to be wise stewards of what God has entrusted to us, or it may reflect the influence of a culture that values ROI (return on investment) above all else. Maybe both.

Scripture warns us about money. It is a tempting master, promising omnipotence—the power to control one's life and circumstances. We all know stories of pastors lured into wealth's maelstrom. We also know of ministries that mismanaged their finances and slowly disappeared beneath a tide of debt. Such tales keep church leaders vigilant. They provoke us to be efficient and practical, but might these values carry a hidden danger even more perilous than wealth?

When efficiency becomes a primary value, we're tempted to become utilitarian. Rather than seeing people as inherently valuable, we rank them by their usefulness. We tap them for money, volunteer energy, or influence. As pastors our goal shifts from serving to using. From ...

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