I know it is cliché , but I wish to pick up the five smooth stones David took hold of and attach to them real-time meaning for our Bethel Church staff (which, by the way, is the greatest team in the world!). Perhaps taking these rocks and putting them into your bag will be helpful for you, too. I shared these with our whole staff at a cook-out we had earlier today.
Stone #1. Don’t assume everyone gets what is going on. This relates to everything. It relates to our vision, our values, our programs, our events, our various reaches into the community or the globe, and so much more. We are going to have to lovingly repeat ourselves, introduce some thing yet again, and then yet again. We are so close to all that is happening in our church family that we may even take it for granted. Meanwhile, too many people may be overwhelmed by the novelty of something that they just heard about for the first time, despite the fact we have been talking about it seemingly forever. Be patient. Be loving. Be gracious. Don’t assume everyone understands. Lay it all out with joy and with enthusiasm. Again.
Stone #2. Because we are with each other nearly every day it is too easy to have a staff-centric view of all-things-Bethel. But let us never, ever forget, that in the world of Bethel Church our volunteers trump our paid team. This is not in any way to diminish the value and importance of our paid team; rather, it is to affirm the unique and special place of the men and women and boys and girls without whom all of our team effort falls apart quickly. And let us avoid “my team, my volunteers, my staff” language. Let’s replace “my” with “our” or the “the Lord’s” or “Bethel’s”. It can be a simple adjustment, in general terms. I need to stop saying, “the staff and volunteers,” and begin saying, “the volunteers and the staff.”
Stone #3. We’ve said this many times and we will affirm it again: think small. We are a very large church with lots of moving parts, busy people, heavy demands (or, at least we wish to think this about ourselves). But this is why we must think small, lower our sights, give attention to every one person who is right in front of us—that one phone call, that one email or Facebook message, that one counseling appointment, that one conversation at Caribou. In a world where the scope is big, let’s affirm each one that is within our orbit. Each one is special to the Lord Jesus. He does not lose sight of the one, and neither should we. This keeps us tender, focused on our mission, and, frankly, more teachable.
Stone #4. Messy is okay. Why? It’s real. We’re all messy, ministry is messy, the sheep are messy, and those of us who tend to them are messy. Some of my greatest frustrations in ministry are when I forget life is messy and expect everything to be neat and tidy. It simply doesn’t work that way; it was never meant to work that way. One of the beauties of accepting that being messy is okay is that it allows us to steward grace so much more effectively. Which, it seems, is what we ought to be about, anyway.
Stone #5. You’re not one-dimensional. Neither am I. Well beyond the world of Bethel Church and all that you are applying yourself to in order for the Bethel family to thrive, you have a life. You have dreams, needs, hurts, relationships that are special, relationships that are hurting, financial worries, joys, and so much more. Never think that you are perceived as one-dimensional. You are far more than what you do here in our midst. Never forget it.