Ask yourself: What will happen if I don’t do it?
Yeah, people might get upset. Yeah, you might be targeted as failing to do your job. Yeah, it might be uncomfortable and it might even bother me. Sure I might feel like I’m not exhibiting a servant heart. Yeah, nobody else is doing it at the present time. But really, did you go through seminary, receive a call (with specific things named as your primary ministry on it) and go to a church, often with a specific title and job description/ministry description, to always make the coffee, empty the garbage, clean the kitchen, and so on?
Sure it is part of the job at times. When I first talked to my pastor about going to seminary to become a pastor I hung around with him for a day. We talked a lot, did some calls together and at the end of the day he went around and checked the locks, closed the windows and said, “Don’t get too idealistic. Ministry is filled with a lot of unglamorous tasks like this.” I got his point. I am not above doing anything including washing the rest rooms, turning off the AC and locking doors because I am often the last one out. But that can be taken to an extreme and it can spill over to a number of other things as well to the end that we might end up being the “default doer” of almost everything.
I remember the first time a layperson handed me a job and I said “no”. Something on the sound system didn’t work and he pulled the offending component and told me to go find and buy a replacement and extended his arm to me with it. I said simply said “no” and didn’t take it from him. At the time I probably couldn’t articulate why but as time went by it came down to good stewardship. Am I a good steward of what has been entrusted to me when I accept these things handed to me that are not really within my training, interest or in a direct relationship to my call? Of course, there are exceptions. I normally did check the doors on Sunday afternoon when I left after leading worship. I normally did turn on some lights, padlocked the gate and so on. But really, if I accept everything put upon me, I am shielding others from feeling the need to be needed and seeing how they can be used by God.
Remember what was said in an earlier blog (Empowering Leaders Part I) about how people enter into leadership? “People enter leadership when they see a problem and say, ‘someone should do something about that and I’m that someone.’” If we have such fragile egos that we feel like we have to make sure everything is taken care of or someone will be upset with me then no one will see any problems and step up. Furthermore we will never be in a position to recruit or encourage the appropriately gifted person to become involved. They won’t see the need in spite of what we say. Status quo will become quite familiar. The sheep will think “normal” is having someone do everything while they sit in the pew and receive. And we’ll live in denial that I am a good servant hearted shepherd caring for the sheep because they have no problems. NO! You are a part of the problem!
So what will happen if you don’t do it?
No you don’t want to ignore the safety and security issues. Lock the doors, check the HVAC system. Turn off the appliances as necessary and perhaps there are other necessities that good sense identifies you as the person to do it.
But really, ask yourself:
- How am I getting in the way of their involvement by doing it for them?
- How am I blocking them from seeing a need that they can fulfill by God’s grace?
- What am I afraid of if I continue to think that I need to do it?
- And…at what point does this assignment appeal to the old Adam within you that is inherently lazy?
Now make that list:
- What will you strategically and intentionally choose to stop doing?
- How will you leverage that to recruit, train, encourage and enlist others?
- How will you deal with the pushback from those who don’t like you messing with their homeostasis?
- How will this affect how you pray? (Are you praying about this? Why not? Oh, well, that is for another blog…)
Empowerment Part 8 Saying “No”