It is easy sometimes to forget what’s important. By that I mean drink coffee. Coffee is essential for me.
I love my life, but with a six-year-old and almost two-year-old running wild and gloriously free in my house, I require caffeine. I want to say I enjoy roasting, grinding, smelling, and then making coffee. But not really. Having coffee right now is an act of utility. Maybe one day those finer points of producing a cup of joe will bring deep levels of satisfaction.
But as true as that all is for me, I catch myself often miserable during the day saying, “Did I have coffee yet?” How is that possible? I don’t have a great answer, other than saying it happens. So, the question is what am I to do about it?
For coffee and I, to ensure a somewhat misery free morning I need to program my coffee maker and fill it up the night before. I prepare myself for success by the use of schedules and systems. That’s great for me and my cup of joe, but what does this have to do with ministry you ask?
For the last three months, I’ve been able to start gathering some youth ministry coordinators (paid and volunteer) from across the Diocese. Monthly we gather to pray, network, receive professional development, and support.
It is a great way for me as a mentor to foster relationships and stay in touch. I look forward to this time to reconnect and stay rooted to the experience of knowing their joys and struggles in the trenches of ministry. This is often the best use of my office hours.
The gatherings are from 10 to 11:30 (max ideally) so to build in the excuse of everyone needing lunch after. The hope being we would break bread together either by a potluck, taking turns hosting, or just going out.
My plan worked, sort of.
The first few times those that were able to go found the sharing we had over lunch was even of greater value than at the meeting. Awesome!
But I screwed up. Let’s do a quick check of my duties:
* Book a room to meet – check.
* Have someone take minutes – check.
* Remember to email out the minutes to those unable to come – (late), but check.
* Choose somewhere to go for lunch – not so check …
None of us able to go out had made plans for lunch to bring in, or go out. We waffled for 10 minutes cleaning up and debating. Some only had 40 minutes until another appointment. Someone had to drop out. More waffling, three more people drop out. My wife calls needing me to pick up the kids; there goes the leader!
In the span of 10/15 minutes standing around, we lost an opportunity to be a gift to one another. All because of a simple system that wasn’t put in place by not having someone schedule and make plans for lunch. One of the critically important and life-giving aspects of my job fell to the waist side simply because we didn’t think about it.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this. Right now we look back on the year and to the upcoming one. We can talk curriculum, programs, and pacing ourselves another day. But for today, I leave us with one question to ponder before we take a sharpie to the calendar.
What’s essential to ministry right now that simply isn’t getting done?
Start your planning by scheduling and developing a system for this need first. Otherwise, you’ll end up alone, hungry, and with two cranky kids at Costco after the free samples are all gone.
Don’t be me. You are better than that.
Be smart. Don’t forget about lunch.