One thing Bob Roberts always pressed on me as a young leader is to never give extended time to people who are unwilling to meet you on your schedule. What that means is to not put yourself in some long-term mentoring relationship with anyone who is unwilling to bend their life and times to you.
The reason is that there are some people who are really not interested in learning from you or growing or even committing to what is necessary to grow. They just want you to know them. For some reason, they perceive you as someone to know and use for their purposes, and will end up wasting time.
This used to sound harsh to me, and not very “Christian” until I gave time to folks who took it, used it, abused it, abandoned the process, and left me with wasted time and nothing to show for it.
This doesn’t mean saying no to people who need counseling or to talk through things or have questions. Of course, as a local pastor, you meet your people and help lead them in life decisions. All ministry leaders need to do that.
What I’m talking about is the request for some manner of consistent time together that gets on the calendar weekly or bi-weekly.
For those of us in ministry leadership, there will never be a shortage of people who want access to ongoing time, and we must have some way of discerning who to give that time to. One of my favorite people and GlocalNet brother, Nic Burleson says “leaders and the lost”. That’s a good matrix for making decisions on who to spend time with.
Bob and Nic have helped me to invest large chunks of time in fruitful soil.
Two young men I’ve had the honor of spending time with recently preached at our church, and I’d like to share their sermons here. Listen to each one. They are worth your time.
AND I want to give a huge shout-out to the rest of the young men I spend time investing in as they are good young leaders. Not all of them are “preachers” or public speakers. So, I’m not leaving those others out. Their fruit is not as public as preaching the sermon at church, yet it is absolutely as fruitful. Nathan sharing the gospel and having theological discussions on the worksite with his co-workers. Abraham talking to prospective students about his and their faith. Marco and Stephen and their wives Kayla and Gabby leading students and doing hard medical work and hosting for people in need of renewal. These are some young folks who get it done. I’m proud of all of them.
My encouragement to you? Target who you spend time with. Don’t be spread so thin you are ineffective. Jesus had 12 and inside that 12, he had 3 he spent more time with. We can’t do more than Jesus, so we should not try. Find your people, invest in them, and watch the Holy Spirit produce lasting fruit.