Lutheran Church Extension Fund
Honor God by doing less

Honor God by doing less

Most Pastors, (and many other church work professionals), could use a Jethro.

Jethro was the guy who told Moses, “Slow down! One person trying to do it all by himself was never God’s design for ministry!” (See Exodus 18 for the full story.)

Sometimes we honor God by doing less.

Grace Place founder Dr John Eckrich started this ministry because of the steady stream of overfunctioning pastors and church workers flowing through his medical office. He found himself playing the role of Jethro. And it wasn’t just the physical signs of burnout that he saw.

Many of these church workers were showing signs of relational problems in crumbling marriages, emotional distress, and vocational despair because of poor boundaries.

There’s no doubt that some of us are under-functioning, failing to diligently pursue the tasks of our calling. I’ve found those instances to be rather rare.

Overfunctioning, which is basically a faithless approach to the work of ministry, is a much greater problem.

When we serve beyond our physical, spiritual, emotional, and relational capacity for the work of ministry, we’re telling God, (like Moses did), that He can’t do this without us. That’s a lack of faith in God.

When we perform the duties that God has assigned to others, (like Moses did), we’re telling them that we don’t trust them. That’s a lack of faith in God’s people.

I’ve been hearing lately that as the pandemic rages on, many churches are finding ways to simplify; to trim back ministry offerings to the most essential and the most fruitful. They’re asking “What can we do, and what can’t we do any longer?”

That sounds pretty healthy. For the Church. And for her ministers.

I’ve challenged congregational leaders in churches across the synod to ask, “What would our congregation be like if our called servants were at their very best, spiritually, emotionally, physically and relationally when they showed up for ministry each day?”

Most pretty quickly conclude that a lot more joyful, impactful ministry might start happening.

Sometimes we honor God by doing less.

Our theme this month in our online Weekly Retreat for Pastors in the Grace Place Wellness Community is “Reclaiming the Joy of Life in Ministry.” It seemed like a good theme just after Labor Day when most people remember to pause from their daily work to reflect and renew their vocational wellbeing.

Pastors are invited to join our Community free for one month to see if our conversations together might be a blessing for you. You can find out more by visiting our website

Together, we’re learning to serve at our best, and most sustainable, pace. We’d love to have you join us soon!

Maybe we can be your Jethro.

Thanks for reading.