A couple of weeks ago I was in Phoenix for the General Council of the AG (read, big long business meeting) and Tommy Barnett spoke for an evening session. Pastor Tommy has pastored the largest AG church in the country for years and years. He is well known for the depth and strength of the vision he shares. He has grown Phoenix First AG from a handful of people to over 10,000! And has met the needs of thousands upon thousands of people. He founded the Dream Center and has inspired so many other ministries it is overwhelming to think about. When you hear some leaders speak you are amazed by what they’ve done. When you hear Tommy speak, you are amazed by what you could do! He lifts everyone else around him up…he’s very inspirational!
As he was speaking he was sharing about the passion God has placed in his heart and the drive that he has. He’s 73 and keeps a schedule that would wear out most 40 year olds…anyways – as he was speaking about burnout in the ministry he made a very interesting statement. He said “The reason you burnout is because your vision is too small!” What? Really? You burn out because your vision is too small? I thought you burned out because you were overwhelmed with the vastness of what needed to be done. I thought you burned out because you had too much going on…not because you couldn’t see a big enough vision. (I didn’t actually think this, but I’m trying to make a point.)
Patrick Lencioni, in his book Three Signs of a Miserable Job, talks about three different things affecting employee enthusiasm.One of those things relates to what Tommy was talking about. He says one of the signs of a miserable job is Irrelevance. Basically, if an employee can’t see the purpose behind what they do, they will lose enthusiasm. Same goes for your vision…
Tommy’s point was this – you burnout because your vision is so limited in its focus. Your vision is too small because you only see what you are doing and not the larger picture of how your contribution affects the kingdom of God! You matter in the Kingdom of God! Your work is important! Your vision must incorporate the vastness of the whole kingdom – not just your classroom, small group, or kids church role. In an employment situation we call it lack of enthusiasm. In church we call it burnout. Ultimately it is the same thing – we have lost sight of the significance of our contribution.
Never lose sight of how much you matter. Never lose sight of your place in the kingdom! You matter! You changes lives every time you serve! Every time. Never forget it.