My brain runs like this on a typical Sunday night:
The chairs need moving again. Set up that canvas, and let’s compliment it with lights this time around. We need a new couch for the lobby. Time to order more t-shirts. The search for the candle-that’s-not-really-a-candle continues. Wow, the lights just went out, how do I fix that? How many pots of coffee did we go through this week? Pizza again… have to find a decent replacement meal. Time to order more communion materials. We need a new cart for the Bible bins because the wheel just fell off the old one. Again. Move all these chairs back in at the end of the night, pick up all the Bibles, throw out all the trash (no, your momma don’t work here, but don’t worry, these volunteers will pick up after you).
Volunteers. These beautiful individuals that come in week after week and pour their hearts into setting up a compelling environment for people that will probably never know their name. It is so easy for operations to become a whirlwind of logistics with a never-ending list of things that need to get done. And while those of us in operations should always strive to make sure things run smoothly and seemingly without effort, it is easy to forget the true element that makes our jobs even feasible. Who would think of operations as a pastoral activity? Sure, the chairs get moved, but what’s going on in the heart of the person that has moved another stack of those chairs this week? Did they spend time with God outside of these walls? Are they making an effort to truly embrace the life of Jesus? What makes them volunteer? What was their living situation like this week? What is going through their thoughts as they tirelessly make Sunday night happen? Do they see their value like Christ sees them? Do they recognize that even though this community they pour into may never know their story, God loves them like no other?
So for us as leaders, how do we lead in such a way that we pastor first, and “make stuff happen” second? I’ve had to rethink operations because, at the end of the night, it doesn’t matter if that chair doesn’t move. Life change is why we do what we do. Is life change happening? And if it’s not, what do we need to change to move in that direction? I wish I could say I had this completely figured out and that I know the detailed stories of each of the volunteers I have the joy of working with each week. Regrettably I am unable to say that. I have come a long way in learning how to adjust my focus from the tasks at hand to placing my eyes on the horizon. I’m learning that my natural inclination is to be Martha in the kitchen instead of Mary at His feet.
What does it look like to be fully present in our roles of “execution” when we truly embrace the heart and mind of Christ?