1. Do you often feel the pressure to make it appear on the outside that you are doing a lot?
2. Do you find yourself losing track of time and getting lost on your computer?
3. Do you spend more time communicating with people via texting, email and social networks like facebook, than you do talking directly with them?
4. Do you plan your calendar more out of how it looks than by the impact you will make?
5. When people ask you what you have been up to lately, do you have a hard time explaining it?
Your answers to these questions might indicate falling into what I am calling the “New Busy”. It’s our being busy with minor things and not making sure we are really connecting with people at a depth level. It’s the kind of busy that doesn’t have time to sit down with someone and ask how they are doing. It’s a busy that robs you of silent prayer time, of going to spiritual direction and of fooling yourself that you are so busy that no one understands.
I have talked to a lot of youth leaders and pastors this summer and I have grown keenly aware of a trend or direction in ministry. At a youth conference last weekend after I had complimented his choice for youth minister, a pastor of a parish attending shared a concern that his youth minister was spending a lot of time with teens at camps and conferences this summer. The pastor went on to tell me how the youth minister needed to realize that he needed to be careful not to let things like email and administrative aspects fail or to let the perception of the other parish staff seem like he wasn’t working. It immediately made me aware that even though the youth minister was really doing a great job in relational ministry (what we pray every youth leader will be doing a great job with) he was still being primarily or at least equally evaluated for his administrative skills or worse yet how it appeared to other staffers? It made me think of how our system of ministry can fail or be at odds with the one of the primary ministry postures of spending time with teens, not to mention spending time in prayer. It made me wonder if there is a “New Busy” that is zapping all the energy out of well intentioned youth leaders?
So what do you think – has the instant communication treadmill, administrative avalanche and need to make it look like you are working a 9 to 5 ministry job put you in a “new busy”? Has the pressure to appear busy kept you from your primary outreach to teens. Have we as youth leaders allowed the “New Busy” to excuse our lack of Evangelization to new teens? What are the areas that you can eliminate from your daily to do list and replace them with the things that will truly impact the lives of those we serve? What other ways is the “New Busy” impacting you and your ministry?