We have a 1997 Chevy Suburban that is on the fritz. What happened is that an O2 sensor went out a few months ago (and yes, the check engine light came on, but that’s another story). Anyway, as a result of the O2 sensor going out, the engine began running to rich, which caused the entire exhaust system to be damaged, including the very expensive catalytic converter. Another result of this problem is that the vehicle now does not get very good gas mileage, and when at idle, it knocks around a bit and runs a little rough. Lastly, somehow this effected one cylinder and now we have a v7 instead of a v8.
What’s very interesting is that as soon as that little $50 O2 sensor started malfunctioning, a little signal was sent to the computer telling it that something was wrong. The computer sent a little signal to this light on my dashboard which when lit up says, “Check Engine”. Know what I did? Procrastinated. I thought, ‘oh, I’ll get to that later, it can’t be that bad – the vehicle still runs’. But here we are today – nobody’s fault but mine (great Led Zep song). All because of a little neglected O2 sensor.
So you are probably already putting this together in your head but here’s what I was thinking about. As a staff in any organization, but especially in a church ministry, we all work together to accomplish the vision. And from the smallest most insignificant person, to the largest and most visible member, we all work in harmony to achieve something. When something goes awry with a less significant staff member, when they are not functioning at full capacity, when their vision strays from the organizations, when their attitudes begin to deteriorate, it begins affecting the entire organization, and can cause some serious damage if not “fixed”.
Another point is that vehicles need maintenance. Same with staff. How important is it for staff members to be constantly learning, to be constantly reminded of the vision, constantly encouraged, challenged, rewarded. And some staff are “higher maintenance” than others, right? But maintenance is still important for the health of the entire staff.
And sometimes parts fail and must be replaced (sometimes if you’re lucky you can replace them before they fail). But think about it, sometimes you just have to replace parts, sometimes they get tired and worn out, sometimes they just plain fail, sometimes they were designed to be somewhere else. As a leader, it’s your job to see what the problem is and fix it. Hopefully your “parts” aren’t wearing out and failing because of your lack of maintenance.
Lastly, sometimes we worry about stuff that is superficial (I am guilty of this). It’s easy to wash the car, clean it out, get it detailed – but neglect the very basic maintenance. Sometimes we get carried away with how ministry looks and completely forget the basics of building relationships, investing in people, holding each other accountable, teaching, training, and having fun.
So some questions I am asking myself are:
- Am I making sure that all the parts are working towards one goal?
- Am I watching for the “Check Engine” light?
- Am I consistently performing maintenance with my staff?
- Am I prepared to change out the failing parts? (and find the right fit for them?)