The question posed is how does a minister balance the task of peoplework verses paperwork. Although every situation is different and has very different circumstances I believe that every minister can and should find the time to invest in both.
In a task-oriented driven society is it difficult to track the progression of what you do to influence people as easily as it is to show what you do through the progression of paperwork. “The problem is, we have subtly made task orientation more desirable in our leader selection process.” (Finzel, p. 47) However our role in leadership is to influence people and not to push paperwork. Finzel states: “When all is said and done, the crowns of my achievement will not be the systems I managed, the things I wrote, or the buildings I build, but the people I personally, permanently influenced through direct contact.” (p. 55).
I personally like the practical list of “How to Push the Paper Aside” including the suggestions of getting away from work for lunch, spending time with your friends, coworkers, children and spouse, exercise with coworkers, changing locations to be out around people, manage by wandering around and my favorite delegate more! (Finzel, p.54). Which leads me to what Powers says that “each minister must accept personal responsibility for their ministry by taking the initiative in purposefully directing one’s life as much as possible rather than simply allowing it to be determined by past and present pressures.” (p. 283). Delegation can help a minister be proactive instead of reactive. In 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 talks about gifts that were given to Christians to build up the church. I believe we should seek those out who have strengths where we are weak so that all may use the gifts and talents given to them to help build the church. We do not have to do it all by ourselves and we shouldn’t. Leaders are to help those with talents use them not bury them as in Romans 12:5-8. By spending time with other to help them develop and use the talents God gave them it builds our peoplework skills and our paperwork duty.
I also like what Powers said about peoples expectations of the role and duties of the minister. “Staff ministers quickly become aware that the expectations held by church members, other staff members, and they themselves about their role and function are numerous, varied, and often conflicting.” (p.278) Maybe we are expecting more from ourselves than those around us. Or maybe we are filling roles that people don’t expect us to fill that is eating up our time. Jesus our ultimate example showed us how to shepherd the people and it was not by pushing paperwork. Our goal is to “see peoples lives change into Christ’s likeness.” (Finzel, p.50). Jesus went out and personally touched the lives of others.
Finzel in chapter three talks about how people need affirmation. “Organizational researchers have been telling us for years that affirmation motivates people much more than financial incentives.” (Finzel, p. 60). What better way to reach out when you are buried in paperwork than to praise those who are doing great work around you. Encouraging people with a card, or a personal visit is a great way to add the human element into your daily routine. “The whole business of affirming those who work with and for us is very simple: Do it!” (Finzel, p. 65).
Peoplework doesn’t have to be as complicated as it sounds. Be on the lookout for the simplest peoplework things that take very little time and you will find that you can find balance between people and paperwork.