By Lee Kemp
A lot of times I think I’m a go-getter. I take on a bunch of stuff and think I can get everything done, but then I realize I’ve committed to too many things have to tell myself, “You’re not that good, Lee.”
If we were having coffee and you asked how my week’s been, I would have to be honest and say that it’s been a hard week. I’ve worked non-stop for 12 days straight, and now all I can think about is when can I take off? When can I take my wife on a date? If you’re like me this week, and you need a laugh, let me tell you why I’m in this place…
One of the first books I read before becoming a church planter was “Strengths Finder 2.0,” which helped me discover and rank my personal strengths. My wife and I did the assessment together, and what we found is that we are completely different! My number one strength is called “Woo,” while Sarah’s is “Deliberative”:
“Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport…Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on…In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet—lots of them.”
“You are careful. You are vigilant. You are a private person. You know that the world is an unpredictable place. Everything may seem in order, but beneath the surface you sense the many risks. Rather than denying these risks, you draw each one out into the open. Then each risk can be identified, assessed, and ultimately reduced. Thus, you are a fairly serious person who approaches life with a certain reserve. You select your friends cautiously and keep your own counsel when the conversation turns to personal matters…”
Honestly, I didn’t think that Sarah being deliberative was a strength; I saw it as indecisiveness. But this is who she is. And, as I dive into this blog post, you will see how she is exactly what I need. Somebody has to put a leash on me—Sarah is the leash!
Even though to “woo” is my strength personally and in ministry, I’ve realized it also means I have a tendency to give up stuff. I give people the feeling that they can call me whenever, and I do this intentionally, but it doesn’t take me long to give up everything I need to do for the sake of helping others.
My week so far, just at a glance, looks like this:
Sunday…left the house at sunrise, church, drove to Joplin, Missouri and back
Monday…lunch meeting, helped mow two yards and another local church’s property
Tuesday…meeting w/ local business friend, office work in afternoon, meeting at night
Wednesday…coffee meeting with a family struggling financially, working on this blog, a facilities meeting, a personnel meeting, and led a Bible study at local boxing club
Thursday (today)…a lunch meeting, community networking, need to go to the store, having someone over for dinner
Friday…going to Russellville early a.m. and straight back, afternoon admin work, then dinner with Forefront’s elders and our new worship leader
Saturday…my son’s Grizzly football team tryouts, yard clean up in the community, and an outdoor movie night event at Timberline Apartments to continue outreach
Sunday…Breakfast club Sunday event in the a.m., luncheon at another church, Acts 1:8 meeting in afternoon, Associational meeting in the evening
As I’ve talked about in a previous post (“The struggle is real to be authentic”), I really push-back on making Sunday the Super bowl of Forefront’s ministry. But from looking at my calendar this week, there is obviously a danger in doing the opposite, right? I and plenty of other pastors are giving tons of our time away, and we need to be careful and protective of giving our attention to the Word, our families, and ourselves.
In ministry, I think our eyes can be bigger than our stomachs sometimes. What I mean is that we are passionate, some of us are type-A personalities, and we rally to a cause, but we can’t do it all. Why? Because we have over-extended our bandwidth.
I’m learning in church planning, by my own mistakes, that I not only need to plan for what I’ve committed to but also for randomness in my week, what I like to call holy interruptions. These interruptions aren’t a bad thing, but if I’m maxed out on my commitments then I may miss out. I have also noticed that it is through these holy interruptions that our mission is advanced into new waters.
Whoever you are, especially if you’re interested in church planting, learn from me and guard your bandwidth. I obviously don’t have this—not over-committing—figured out. If I did, I wouldn’t be in this place.
I guess it’s like learning to live within your means financially. You have to lead your life within your means. I have the challenge of being “fully present” in my doing, and so I find myself leading on auto pilot. Although that may work in church life and with others who don’t know you, it doesn’t work with your wife and kids. Take it from me on this!
How you can pray for me
- There’s a lot going on at Forefront that I hope to share with you in the next few weeks, which is one of the main reasons I’ve overextended myself. God is doing good things, and I am excited to tell you about it! Please pray for these developments.
- Pray that I will make time to be in the Word, with my family, and to take care of myself.