The CEO at Charles Schwab in a recent interview shared about one of his failures in college. In one of his last classes, he spent hours memorizing formulas, calculations, and business principles, only to fail the class. The reason? The final exam was a blank sheet of paper for them to answer one question: What's the name of the lady who cleans the building? For Bettinger, this was a reminder that the most important resource in business is human, it's the people who do the work and drive the brand and build a legacy. Perhaps the biggest takeaway for ministry is the simple and profound reminder that unless we are effectively engaged in relationships, we're not doing ministry.
Unlike many other organizations, relationships are the crucible where all ministry happens. When we are prepping sermons and Bible studies, we're doing it knowing who will be hearing it. When we make a hospital visit, we're not clinicians, we're dealing with the emotional toil of tragedy. And every time in youth ministry we plan an event, we're not making a checklist, we're working with the sacred trust of parents with their kids. It's impossible to disengage from relationships and be anything more than a talking head. I love what my friend Sam Rainer said about the importance of local, relational leadership, that the leadership we have among our people is a legacy that will long outlive our obituary.
Jesus made a ministry out of the Dotties, the Twelve were on the fringe of proper society without any special gifting or natural ability, yet through His leadership and the Spirit's power the world was turned upside down within a generation. Our churches and ministries are full of Dotties. They're the awkward middle schooler struggling to fit in, the unemployed dad who can't find a break, the recovering addict with an ankle bracelet, and the lady who walks in pregnant without a ring. It can be so easy in ministry to focus our time and energy on the people like us, the "safe people," the ones we spend time with and not have to wonder what people are thinking. But one of the ways we build our relationship capital in ministry is to spend time ministering to, serving, and loving the Dotties around us.
Take a long look around the people God has called you to live among, serve, love, and shepherd. Are there any Dotties out there? If so, be intentional about seeking them out to give them the graceful touch of Christ who came to seek and save the lost, and who told us that whatever we do for the least of these, we're doing for Him.
This is taken from the concept for my next untitled book to be released by Rainer Publishing later this year, designed to help ministry leaders get off to a good start.
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Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.