Last week I talked about the ways we work too hard and take too much responsibility. But church leaders are not only overfunctioners. We often underfunction in some areas, as well. Some clergy who work like crazy at church underfunction at home as parents and spouses. And even in church life itself, some clergy underfunction. Some are depressed and not doing their job as a result. Some are just not working very hard.
For some, their underfunctioning shows up in missed appointments and late deadlines. Over time (and it’s a long slow process) we can get better in some of these areas if we are willing to work on them. One of my colleagues who struggles in the area of administrative life has asked one of her church leaders to help her. It can be humbling to ask for help, but when the people see a leader who is willing to work on areas of weakness while still focusing in his or her strengths, that sends a powerful message.
Where do you underfunction? I’m hate dealing with cars, and for years I let my husband take care of it. At least I take my own car into the mechanic for regular oil changes now instead of depending on him to do it. But when there’s a real problem I ask him to take care of it.
Both overfunctioning and underfunctioning are driven by anxiety. When we overfunction, we are anxious about others and so we step in where we shouldn’t in ways, that don’t help them grow. Conversely, we may be anxious about some area of our life and so we never pay attention to it, in the vain hope that it will go away, or in the not-so-vain hope that someone else will take care of it for us.
Where do you need to step up?