I am a person that doesn’t really like to do the same thing twice… except for things like playing music or cooking steak. In the depths of my soul I want every year to be filled with new, unexperienced ideas. I prefer those ideas to work wonderfully each time, and I prefer for those ideas to originate within my world. I do not like just taking something someone else is doing and then imitating that… but I have come to realize something…
the paragraph above is filled with I(s)…
The changes that have been forced upon us because of the Covid-19 virus has shown me I (yes that is another one) have been living in automatic mode. Automatic mode is when we go through a given week doing the same things over and over again and then doing the same things the next week. Each season brings with it the same sort of events, the same rhythms, the same organizational processes and the same results. In church world, your ministries remain the same, doing the somethings each year with no adjustments, just moving from one event to the other. Thus running on automatic.
Running automatic is not a new term for me. John Maxwell has taught about it in leadership lessons before, though I cant remember which lessons. Basically he says that many leaders prefer the automatic style of leadership. In automatic you always know what to expect. If you do a + b it = c. He goes on to say that leaders who live in the automatic realm in their organizations never reach their leadership potential. There is nothing to challenge them to think differently, to do things differently, or to learn something new.
Being forced out of automatic and into a new environment has stretched us. It has made us work harder and in some cases smarter. We have learned to better rely on the Lord for guidance and forced us out on the limb of faith, though sometimes it feels like we are taking a leap.
This virus has forced us all to think differently about how to do ministry and has put what we truly value on display for all to see. For it is those values that have molded the changes that have been made to keep the church going. Some people are doing things that in any other circumstance they would have never tried. Online giving is one of those things, streaming a service is another, and coming up with ways to connect with people on a more personal level has shown some that the office isn’t really where ministry happens. It’s where organization happens, which is important,(its the engine of the ministry) but it isn’t ministry.
This week it seems at Farmington Baptist we have begun to settle into this new way of doing church. I do not want to do church this way for too long. We need to get back to meeting inside the church building as soon as possible, participating in small groups as soon as possible and reaching out to the community as soon as we can. But what I do want to keep is the newness of doing things differently. Somethings will need to be automatic but we need to make sure we move beyond automatic to spontaneity from time to time and stretch ourselves to be better so we can reach people more effectively for the Glory of Jesus Christ. Even in settling into this new ministry templet we were still discussing changes to what we are currently doing to make it more effective so we can accomplish the goals God has placed before us. We have also began discussions about how to change once all these executive orders are lifted, which needs to be soon…
All that to say this…
When we run on automatic we never think outside of the box. It’s too much work to do so. It’s only when we make a conscience effort to turn the automatic switch off that a new world opens up to us where we find Jesus alive, working and well.
Thats where I want to live.
Lord let me know when I’ve been in automatic mode too long!
(I realize this post may not make any sense to anyone reading it but it did me a world of good)
One thought on “Automatic Off”
I loved it. It made perfect sense to me. Grace and peace.