When I was a kid we would watch reruns of Happy Days. There really isn’t much that I remember about the show with the exception of the Fonz’s power to fix things with a simple nudge, pound or smack. I’ve tried this method myself. The dishwasher isn’t working; I kick it. The car doesn’t sound right; I smack it on the hood. If I don’t look good in the mirror, I punch it…that one hardly ever works.
In ministry I’m sure there is a whole slew of things that we wish we could just smack, punch and kick (I’m not talking about the teens) and have it start working. If our systems and structures aren’t running smoothly then ministry just becomes a game of survival. We need people to show up on time, equipment to run, meetings to end and communication to flow; but, if that’s not happening then neither is our ministry. So, we look for a quick fix; but, quick isn’t what we always need. Instead we need to take a simple; yet, thorough approach. And, that starts with:
The 10,000 Foot View – Sometimes we just need to take a step back and look at the whole picture. When fire fighters approach a burning building, first thing they are told is to take a step back and analyze the entire situation. Where is the source of the problem? Where are the trouble areas? What’s my best approach? Answer those questions then proceed.
Partnering Up – The tendency is to figure a problem out on our own; however, with only one set of eyes we’re bound to miss something. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 tells us: Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. If you really want the best outcome to a situation make sure you partner up.
Setting A Timeline – While it’s great to take our time and really analyze a problem, if we wait too long we could discover new consequences from inactivity. If I have a leaking roof and wait on it too long, it could create more damage if I don’t address it right away. Just as we set a timeline for our goals, we should do the same with issues we need to address. Don’t be afraid to lean in, because God is right there with you.
Reviewing And Revisiting – If you figure out a problem on the first go, that’s awesome; however, it is always wise to check twice. If you are addressing a student’s behavior, follow up and see how they are doing. If you are trying a new format, review it with your team after a few weeks. If you’ve cut a program or event, get feedback from people you trust.
Yes, it would be easier to just smack the problem around and have it start working; however, it’s not that easy. The steps to addressing a problem are simple; however, they take work. The most important thing we can do is to rely on God to guide us through these situations and give us the persistence and wisdom we need to fix a situation properly.
Have I missed anything? What steps would you add to address an issue or problem?
Chris Wesley is the Director of Student Ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, MD. You can read more about his blog Marathon Youth Ministry.