Monday, November 28, 2016

What do you do when you hit your final number?

Yesterday I went to the evening service of the largest church in Sydney.

In short, the service was, relatively, what I expected.

But, as they were launching their Christmas services and, with a lot of extra activities like fireworks, Christmas lights, jumping castles, horse-and-cart rides, food stalls, ect, there were heaps of people.

A mean... A. Lot.

More, I hope, than they expected.

Because the time before the service was... interesting.

Whilst the parking attendants were friendly and efficient, we had to park a long way away.

No big deal.

That was borderline expected.

Then we arrived to the entrance doors.

It was hectic.

People were everywhere.

And, without a person inside saving you a seat (with proof provided via a text message) then you weren't getting inside the main auditorium.

Now, while the throng of people trying to enter wasn't exactly orderly, the guy on the door wasn't helpful.

In fact, he was borderline rude.

As an uninitiated churchgoer, I would have, nearly, been put off enough to leave.

But, there's an issue... What do you do when you get more people than you can handle?

Sure, it might be a problem that many only dream of, but, it's an issue which can arise with any event where...

You only have so many seats inside the building...
You only have so many seats on the bus...
You only have so many seats in cars...
You only have so many beds to sleep in...
You only have so many gingerbread house kits...

At any event where you only have "so many" you can hit your "final number."

Then what do you do?

Realistically, there's not a great deal you can do.

Fire restrictions exist.
Transportation laws exist.
You can't create more resources out of thin air.

Eventually, you're at capacity or you run out.

But, you can do one thing.

Be polite.

Not once did I, admittedly in the middle of a stressful situation, hear the guy on the door yesterday apologise.

For the inconvenience...
For the delay...
For the chaos...

The words "I'm sorry but..." would have made a massive difference.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The first decision is to set your limits

Sometimes, faith in the church.
Tragically, even family.

Decisions have a price.
Ministry has a cost.

I think everyone who chooses to work for a church must make a difficult decision.
A decision they shouldn't put off.
A decision which MUST be made before they enter into vocational ministry.

What are you willing to pay AND what are you willing to not pay?

For ministry will, inevitably, demand a price.
Caring for people, through the ups and downs of life, will come at a cost.

The most important question that needs to be considered is how high a price you'll be willing to pay and what cost will be too high.

Monday, November 14, 2016

The three positive messages of "pushback"

Last year I posted on the secret code for pushback.

But, there's a hidden message sent by someone who is willing to push back on what you're saying.

And, perhaps surprisingly, they're not negative.

In fact, they're a game-changer when dealing with criticism or someone with the gumption to challenge you.

The following list, of course, excludes those who are doing nothing but muck-raking or anonymous trolling...

Someone who's willing to make a stand on what you're saying or doing sends three positive messages...

First, at least potentially, it means that they care.

Second, it means that they're brave enough to actually speak up and should, if nothing else, be honoured for that courage.

Third, it shows that they have been paying attention.

If someone is willing to take the time to talk with you after a service, or make the effort to compose an email - even if it's a little awkward or uncomfortable to receive - it shows that they've been engaging with what you've been doing to such an extent that it's created a response.

When someone displays that they've been listening and engaging, that's an occasion to be thankful.

Monday, November 7, 2016

The lesson for those no-longer-in-ministry

More or less, aside from the occasional preaching gig - like what I'll have next Sunday - I've been out of practical ministry now for a full calendar year.

And... it's been a... challenge.

I've struggled to "be normal" and not be "on" while at church.

I've struggled with not being in leadership and, at least potentially, knowing what's going on.

I've struggled to switch off the more analytical, nay critical, elements of by mind while in churches.

But, most of all, I've struggled doing nothing.

I've struggled not being "the youth minister."

For, over the majority of the last decade, that's what I was.

That's what I did.

That was my identity.

That's what made me unique.

And... it's not the case any more.

But, I have... at least started... to learn an important lesson.

And, I'll readily admit that it's not the most complex truth.
But, it's one that's exceptionally difficult for those now-not-in-ministry to grasp.

Here it is...

Following Jesus is more important than serving Jesus.

I don't want to negate the importance of being an active member of Christ's body, but it's critical that those no-longer-up-the-front to realise that being a follower of Jesus is more important than being in ministry.

This is a lesson I'm still trying to learn...