The Church has Parkinson’s

Most of us think we have plenty of time and consequently waste plenty of it. In 1955 The Economist published Parkinson’s Law that began like this, “It is a commonplace observation that work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. Thus, an elderly lady of leisure can spend the entire day in writing and despatching a postcard to her niece at Bognor Regis. An hour will be spent in finding the postcard, another in hunting for spectacles, half-an-hour in a search for the address, an hour and a quarter in composition, and twenty minutes in deciding whether or not to take an umbrella when going to the pillar-box in the next street. The total effort which would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may in this fashion leave another person prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety and toil.” So work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion. The author gives two reasons. Officials try to multiply subordinates, and officials create work for each other. The article speaks for itself, but the parallels to modern church ministry are striking. The answer is a lean, nimble, and empowered leadership team.

One thought on “The Church has Parkinson’s

  1. all very true from the work point of view, but what of the patient grandmother that teaches grandchildren to make cookies and takes all afternoon with the children to give them fresh out of the oven chocolate chip cookies. Certainly not time well spent from the production point of view. Cheaper to buy the cookies and more time efficient. Will grandma be remembered by the grand kids as a inefficient, spend thrift or a loving woman that took time when no one else would. Ministry makes no sense on time line studies. Christ never seemed to be in a hurry but managed to get everything done.

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