On our last Elemental Leaders podcast, our panel tackled the Exhaustion Epidemic with this question: “Help! I’m Overwhelmed and Overworked…or Am I Just Bad at Time Management?”
It’s part of a current series we’re calling “Asking For A Friend.” Truth is, I know very few church leaders who would consider themselves great at time management…including myself.
Our panel suggested all sorts of pragmatic ideas for handling the overwhelming job of being a church leader. The problem is not just the actual tasks and never-ending people challenges, but the head space required when pastors are expected to have wide-ranging expertise on, well, everything. From theological/biblical knowledge (of course!), as well as cultural/societal issues, political insights (because everything is politicized today), the dynamics of human relationships, counseling acumen, communication skills, fiduciary and operations management...the list goes on. I knew I was in trouble the day I got an email from a congregant letting me know that it was important to them whether I leaned more into infralapsarianism or supralapsarianism. Sheesh.
During the podcast recording, I offered 10 Practical Tips on Managing Your Time. As I was giving them, I even noticed some of our team taking notes. Then to express how phenomenally good I am at managing my own hours of the day, I mentioned that I didn’t have time to spend researching the topic so I simply asked ChatGPT for some time management principles and it spit it out in about a minute. And it could have written in a 400-word-or-less blog post format if I’d asked.
How’s that for time management?
Of course that was a rabbit hole to fall into. And here’s why: because of the numbers of sermons I hear in my work, I can usually tell in just a few minutes if the pastor is recycling someone else’s sermon…and it’s really, really common. Then within minutes I can Google a phrase or two and find the source. That’s a topic for another time altogether—and there are good and bad reasons for using other pastors’ messages. But the point is: it’s only a matter of time before overworked and overwhelmed pastors start asking ChatGPT to write a message on Romans 8 or a “How To Affair Proof Your Marriage”-type sermon. And I hate to say this, but it may be better than some of the pastors’ messages I’ve heard over the years.
That’s a problem. On multiple levels. But again, we’re heading down a rabbit hole.
One thing I know: the future of communication is going to be really, really interesting in the next decade.
And one last thing: later I went back on ChatGPT—for research, of course(!)—and before I could log on, it wanted to know if I was a human or not.
The irony wasn’t lost on me.
Dave Workman | The Elemental Group
The Elemental Churches Inventory guides your leadership team through a multi-faceted review of strengths and opportunities in four vital elements of your church’s life: Integrity (systems, processes, infrastructure), Passion (commitment to the mission), Servanthood (outward-focus), and Imagination (innovation, openness to change). And because of its unique web-based and curriculum approach, it’s a third of the cost of typical consulting!