We have a different view of time at the beginning of the year than we do at the end of the year. Think back to how you were feeling a few weeks ago: maybe a little rushed and hurried as you tried to accomplish everything that needed to happen before the year’s end? Today, we are looking ahead at the possibilities and potential, and it feels like we have all the time in the world. We do not.
Many congregations do have more of a sense of urgency these days. We eagerly wait for the day when attendance will return to 2019 levels. Some of our younger members have missed nearly two years of regular, in-person discipleship and fellowship. Now we’re in a hurry to put things back the way they were — or to make them better. How will we manage the gift of time?
Alaina Kleinbeck, director of the Thriving in Ministry Coordination Program, is right to point out that there is more than one way we can relate to time. Our relationship with time is mediated through culture and has implications for how we interact with other people. With that in mind, the fact of our temporal existence means we need to adopt a deliberate stance for how we will manage time.
When this issue of the Alban Weekly is published, we will have 348 days remaining in the calendar year. As we resume our normal schedule of church meetings and activities, how will we as leaders discern what claims our attention and what can wait? What projects, problems or opportunities have we pushed to the background that we really need to pay attention to now? As a disciple and a leader, how will you steward time to faithfully carry out your calling? Although we cannot control time, this week’s resources suggest that we can choose to use the time we have wisely.
By David L. Odom
By Gretchen E. Ziegenhals
By Matthew T. Phillips
Q&A with James Dubik
Before you go…
I sometimes wonder if I would be more consistent in the way I use time if I framed it in terms of investment rather than management: How will I invest time?
Investments are designed to produce profitable returns. Spending one-on-one time with a staff member may not feel like something that I always have time to do, but that is an investment in our relationship and can yield a return of joy, trust and mutual respect. Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays wrote a poem that I heard often as an undergraduate student at the college where Mays once served as president. The poem is called “I have only just one minute”:
I have only just a minute,
Only sixty seconds in it.
Forced upon me, can’t refuse it.
Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it.
But it’s up to me
to use it.
I must suffer if I lose it.
Give account if I abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute,
but eternity is in it.
The Alban Weekly team loves to hear from you. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next week, keep leading!
Editor, Alban at Duke Divinity