I’m in the trenches of dumping money into my truck for maintenance issues. At this point I’m ready to wipe my hands clean and start again with another vehicle, which will come with it’s own problems I’m sure…sadly that’s how cars are unless you can buy a new one every year. So, how did I know my truck needed maintenance?
I spotted it one evening after an oil change. Thinking it was residual oil I kept an eye on the leak…it got bigger overnight. A day or two after watching it and looking for the source I found it was something bigger, which lead to another repair needing to be made. I think you might see where I’m going with this so I’ll jump out of the analogy and speak straightforward as a pastor and leader overseeing many.
I’m in the people business. Just as a mechanic knows cars because they have been around their fair share of vehicles, I know people. In student ministry I deal with teenagers, college aged leaders, adult leaders and parents…pretty much the entire gamut. When you work daily with various age groups you are constantly troubleshooting problems, re-arranging leaders, consoling a depressed student, or listening to an irate parent. What do all of these people have in common? Maintenance and maintenance indicators. Just as a warning light would display low fuel, or low tire pressure, people do the same thing.
Observing a leak or warning light is one thing, identifying the source of the problem and fixing it is entirely different. That takes work and experience. We need to roll up our sleeves and get under the hood constantly to identify the leaks in our ministry. If a leader gives you a bad “gut feeling” based on a conversation I’d take that as a warning indicator. If you catch a student gossiping about another student in their small group I’d consider that a low tire pressure light. If a leader isn’t connecting with their co-leader, you might say that group is running on empty. You get the picture. Take care of your ministry. Don’t avoid the things your know that need attention. Get in there, roll up your sleeves, find the problem and fix it.
Oh, and here’s the hard news…as you try to fix the problem you might break a few more things along the way. Don’t worry, unfortunately that’s part of the process sometimes. I’ve been fixing one problem for the past 6 months, I broke a few things along the way but I’m excited to see this part of the ministry up and running again.
Lastly, if you notice a leak and it makes you nervous or scares you, you aren’t alone. You and I both know that if the leak isn’t given the proper attention it could cause you way BIGGER problems down the road. Quit waiting around, go fix the leak.
What leaks/maintenance issues are you dealing with in ministry right now? Leave a comment and let others hear it, perhaps we can brainstorm together a good approach if you feel lost on the issue. If you don’t feel comfortable leaving a comment reach out to me via email in the contact section of my website.