Summary: I am a big fan of building solutions and systems to facilitate ministry. When something does not go right, it simply showcases our areas of needed growth in our systems.
I am a big fan of building solutions and systems to facilitate ministry. However, those solutions and systems have their limits, right? Solutions and systems that worked for a congregation of 100 will likely not work for a gathering of 200. In the same way, fixes for a congregation of 200 will not work for a congregation of 450. There are breaking points to all of our systems and solutions.
When something does not go right, it simply showcases our areas of needed growth in our systems. The problem, almost guaranteed, is our system. Remember, every system has its limits. Complaining people or a congestion of a line or a weekly parking lot traffic jam are not the problem. The problem, more times than not, is our systems and our structures.
In the auto industry, a certain type of engineer creates oddly elaborate “Stress Tests” on everything from car doors, to radio buttons, to the distributor cap. Their task is to determine if the on/off switch on the radio can sustain 60,000 ons and offs and not break. They repeatedly open and close a door 100,000 times to find out which component in the system fails first. It is not a matter of IF IT WILL BREAK, it is a matter of WHEN it will break and which cog in the wheel broke first.
In our ministries, we can theorize how care for the flock will happen. We can predict where the line for nursery check-in should go. We can imagine how the sign up for providing and delivering new moms with home cooked meals will play out. But it is only when we plug in real people that we see the breaking point of our ability to effectively execute. Let me challenge you: The next time you have a mess to deal with, dig a little deeper and see if the solution is a structural one. You may be surprised.