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The Dangers of Over Commitment

If you have spent any amount of time in one church, you know just how busy church calendars can get. Even a small church, like my own, can fill up a monthly calendar quickly. Once you let the holidays roll around (adding even more activities to your calendar) you can really start to feel the strain. Further, most people who are involved in their church have other commitments as well. Work, family, school and, if you dare squeeze it in, a hobby or two. Before you know it, you can easily get overcommitted, and overwhelmed. Commitment to God’s Church is a good thing. Don’t misunderstand. But, there are risks. And, it can be prudent to stop on occasion and consider those risks and the dangers of over commitment.

What is Over Commitment?

Over commitment is the tendency that some church volunteers have of trying to take on every volunteer slot. Sometimes this happens because you feel that there are not enough volunteers to cover everything. This is certainly a real problem in many churches. But other times people over commit because it is just what they have been doing for so long. It has become a habit.

The Dangers of Over Commitment

On a positive note, over commitment is often a sign of a true servant’s heart. There are plenty of people in our churches who under commit, meaning they never volunteer to do anything. This has its own set of dangers, but there are some pitfalls to over commitment as well. The most significant risk of over commitment is burnout. If you do too much for too long, then eventually something has got to give. When this happens, you may find yourself no longer getting joy out of the volunteering.

Another real danger is pushing other volunteers to the back burner. Sometimes people who have never volunteered are timid about stepping up. They may hesitate. During that hesitation, over committers usually jump in, fill the gap and the newbie meekly waits for another chance. It is true that sometimes if someone doesn’t immediately step up, the slot will simply go unfulfilled, but you should at least give others a chance to step up to the opportunity before you volunteer if you are already very active in the church.

Another danger can be the tendency for things to start falling through the cracks if you have too many commitments going at once. You will know this is happening because you will begin to struggle to fulfill all of the obligations you have placed on yourself. And, what you do accomplish won’t be at the level you desire and the Lord deserves.

What’s the Solution?

The solution to over commitment is to pray carefully about each volunteer job you take on. The Lord will guide you to exactly the positions He wants you helping with for this season in your life. Often, we neglect to pray about volunteering at church because we think, “Doesn’t God want everyone to volunteer. Isn’t this a no-brainer?” Maybe not. Maybe God has something else in mind for you for this season.

Take some time to pray and consider each volunteer opportunity before you jump in.

Sarah Reeves

You can see all of the articles by Sarah on Sunday School Zone.

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