- Matt Keller, author of The Up the Middle Church, blogged on the subject of “margin drains.” He identified four deadly margin drains:
1. Violating the Sabbath. Nothing will drain you like a lack of a day off. But this one is a subtle one. The enemy of our souls love to get us so busy that we have to violate our sabbath. It’s like changing the oil in your car. Don’t do it for 5,000 miles and nothing will happen. Don’t do it for 10,000 miles and no one will notice, still. Don’t do it for 25,000 miles and your car will breakdown on the side of the road.
The same is true with our Sabbath, we can neglect it for quite a while with seemingly little or no consequences, but eventually it will catch up with us and bite us.
2. Schedule Creep. Put simply, adding without subtracting can eat your lunch. As your church grows, so will it’s calendar. If you don’t strategically subtract from it, you’ll end up running yourself ragged.
3. Not having Pre-Determined Boundaries. Plain and simple, if we don’t set our boundaries, someone else will. The problem for most of us is that because we’ve not pre-decided on what we will and won’t do, we end up allowing the emotion or pressure of the moment to dictate our commitments and obligations, and we pay the price.
4. Our Inability to say no. This is a tough one, because we all want people to like us. But if we don’t learn the art (and it is definitely an art) of saying no to people, we’ll be at their mercy to the detriment of our own margin.
And here’s the thing about saying no, we have to learn the art of saying no, without excuse. This is killer hard. Because we feel the pressure to have a “good” or “legitimate” excuse. But there’s something powerfully mature about being able to say no with no because. Just Thanks, but no. That’s a tough one.
More from Matt Keller: