Well oiled machine or Plateau?

I like the way a well oiled machine runs…there are no problems.  There is no proverbial squeaky wheel – it’s all smooth.  I think everyone prefers to be a part of things that run well.  Given a choice between a new 2012 Lexus fresh off the lot and a 1972 Nova – I’m picking the new Lexus.  I know it’s going to run smoother…

When I was in college I had an advisor who said he considered it a successful midweek service when he could sit in his office and enjoy a cup of coffee.  This sounded like a good thing to me – after all if your ministry could run on auto pilot then you must be doing something right – right?

I think a lot of folks are striving for that perfect ministry running like a well oiled machine – they get tired of dealing with problems and want a relief…”When will this end?” They scream!  I’ve had a few moments like that myself…I actually spent time trying to setup a Children’s Ministry that would let me sit in my office and drink a cup of coffee – before I realized the problems with that style.

I do believe that we need to strive for a ministry that is running well – smoothly even – not constantly in crisis mode.  But in that striving to become a well oiled machine you have to be careful that you don’t hit a plateau.  It’s easy when you are looking for a place to “arrive” – to find a flat spot to rest.  And I’ve got news for you – if you’ve found that spot, you’ve found a plateau.

In ministry we can never stop looking for ways to improve – my Pastor shared a thought with us “The first draft is never good enough…” – and he’s right.  If we are doing the same things we were doing last year in the exact same way – we probably aren’t evaluating our program.

I had another advisor in college – he had a little different philosophy than the first.  In a class on ethics we were given an assignment to write a paper on how two books affected our personal ethics.  A girl in the last row of the class raised her hand and asked “What is nothing changed?”  His response is classic and true – “I have read these books 4 times – each time I’ve read them something in my personal ethics has changed.  If nothing changed for you – then you didn’t read them.”

If nothing’s changed in your ministry and it seems to be running well – there’s a good chance you’re sitting on a flat spot and often times of the other side of a plateau is a downhill slope…


2 Responses to “Well oiled machine or Plateau?”

  1. Very well said.

  2. As far as media is concerned, there is always room for improvement. I’m usually concerned with the frame rate of a video to make it look more presentable on-screen, audible “hums”, poor mic quality, the fact that we are using only one channel for computer sound as opposed to two, etcetera, etcetera. There is always room for improving the hardware and software functionality in media. On one hand, I may redo all of my videos from still backgrounds to moving backgrounds as a means of making them more visually presentable; and on the other hand, I may change mics and other equipment attached to the sound board in order to lessen reoccurring technical problems. I don’t think there is a plateau for media, to be honest. There will always be problems, and new concepts to incorporate for presentation purposes.

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