(Photo: courtesy Crossway)
Pastor and author Kevin DeYoung says that churches are often the culprit in perpetuating busyness among their congregations.
The senior pastor of University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Mich., and author of Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully Short Book About A (Really) Big Problem, told The Christian Post about how the church can contribute to the problem.
"I think the church is often a culprit in the busyness, especially in the evangelical church. Again, it's part of being Americans. Part of being evangelicals too is that we're highly activist," said DeYoung. "We are always diving in, willing to solve problems, and again there's a lot good there. But we also need the theological balance that the Kingdom is not ours to bring or ours to create."
DeYoung also told CP that the Church should call people to lead "sane lives" and should better understand when parishioners cannot take on certain church projects.
"Just very practically, pastors need to be careful that while they have a right to call people to absolute allegiance to the Word of God, we don't have the right to call people to absolute allegiance to our programs or every ministry we have at the church," said DeYoung. "I would say we need to allow and understand that tackling busyness is a community project and by that I mean we have to allow that other people are not going to make our needs their first priorities."
'The Best and Worst Person'
Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully Short Book About A (Really) Big Problem is only 128 pages long, and the short read delves into the common American problem of being immersed in busyness.
"No doubt, some people are quantitatively less busy than others and some much more so, but that doesn't changed the shared experience: most everyone I know feels frazzled and overwhelmed most of the time," wrote DeYoung in the first chapter.
It is a problem DeYoung told CP that he struggled with, confirming what he wrote in the book, that he is "the best and worst person to be writing a book like this."
"This is one of the things I wanted to figure out: why do I feel this way, why do I keep getting into these patterns of feeling so overwhelmed?" said DeYoung. "I wrote the book to try to find some helpful ways to grow in this area, but just as importantly to realize why am I this way, why am I feeling this way and perhaps what I discover will be helpful for others."
Crazy Busy is divided into ten chapters. Chapter one serves as an introduction, chapter two an explanation on the dangers to avoid regarding busyness, chapters three through nine examined the diagnosis of busyness, and chapter ten explained what one must do to help combat the problem of busyness.
DeYoung emphasized to CP that Crazy Busy is less of a "how-to" and "more of a how-come", describing it as a "why book" with "practical suggestions" within its pages.
"There was a sense in working on the book that I'm coming to understand how what's going on in my own heart, what are the dangers here, what are the spiritual dynamics," said DeYoung. "People here get an idea and they run with it, then they don't wait to figure out if everyone approves it, they just go and start making stuff happen. I think that's very much an American impulse and it certainly feeds into this busyness epidemic."
For his final chapter, DeYoung argues that a good way to combat busyness is to make God "our good portion" in life. This includes setting aside quiet time in prayer, Bible reading, and corporate worship.
DeYoung told CP that since Crazy Busy has been released, one of the criticisms is about the solution he offered.
"Some people were even disappointed that the book ended that way, thinking either 'well I wanted some real practical steps' or 'you just gave me one more thing to do'," said DeYoung.
DeYoung explained that he ended the book in this manner as a reflection of the contents of the Gospel of Luke 10, specifically how the Gospel writer structured the text.
"You have Jesus sending out the 72 disciples, they're casting out demons, Satan falls like lightning, they're doing this wonderful ministry. Then…you have the parable of the Good Samaritan, cross the road, care for the hurting, show compassion and mercy, this impetus to go and to do," said DeYoung. "I don't think it's a coincidence that the end of the chapter that Luke records the story of Mary and Martha, as if to say you can be busy with all of this ministry, all of this service, and if you neglect the one thing that is most needful, what does it really matter?"
DeYoung added that when he can "make some time with Christ a priority", then "a number of others things begin to fall into place."
Published by Crossway and released Sept. 23, Crazy Busy: A (Mercifully Short Book About A (Really) Big Problem by Kevin DeYoung is available for purchase at book stores and online.