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stewardship of a problem


a ministry colleague and i were talking today about a "problem" that they potentially have in their church...i'll create a parallel hypothetical problem here: let's say that you have 25 teens show up UNEXPECTEDLY for your wednesday night youth group meeting. it creates several problems right away...
  1. you only have space for 12-15
  2. your ministry volunteer only brought enough supplies/resources/giveaways/bribery-items for 10 (because although we can seat 12-15 we "usually" only have 7 or 8 show up)
  3. the "back up" volunteer didn't show because it was rainy/cold/icy/whetever-it-is-that keeps-your-people-home-on-a-wednesday-night
  4. crowd control will be at best "difficult" because 25 teens are not going to sit long in an environment where they are not: challenged, interested, cared for, accepted and entertained (yes, entertained...church should NEVER be boring...the opposite of entertaining)
  5. how will we go forward "if they all come back"
in my analysis of similar situations (based on experience from many different churches and scenarios) the stewardship of the problem really started BEFORE the problem...here's what i mean:
  • the teens showed up "unexpectedly" - why in the world do we think that they WON'T show up? seriously, the lack of faith and expecation is literally similar to throw up in my mouth - catch you off guard? good! because it's killing the church...it's repulsive, unappetizing and blinding us to the expectancy that should come with serving God!
  • the problem before the problem was that leadership didn't do enough to prepare for this "what-if" scenario (and YES, i've been very guilty of this...not ashamed to confess this!) - leaders - you, leaders - i'm talking to you...you HAVE to prepare for these "what-if" scenarios - then EXPECT them for cyring out loud! seriously, we can't prepare for EVERY "what if" scenario - the problem is that we tend to prepare for NO "what if" scenarios.
  • the problem before the problem was the the "back up" volunteer didn't show because she didn't see the vision - she hadn't caught the passion and she wasn't "all in" as they say in poker tourneys! leaders, you, leader - we have to do what it takes to get people to be "all in" - if they are not "all in" then figure out what's wrong with your leadership...change, care, reach, train, love, encourage, cry, pray, and serve them so that they will become "all in"
  • the tendency in most churches is to only see things as a "bump in the road" (my phrase that i've used in similar situations)...what if? what if the "bump in the road" is actually a NEW road God is putting you on? could this be a test? could it be that God WANTS to see 25 or 250 in your youth group? of course it could be! but how well will we respond to the test? will we see it as a NEW road or a "bump" in the same old road we've been travelling?
  • when God sends "new problems" your way, EMBRACE them! solve them! love them! (don't loath them)! and LOOK for more new problems...because new problems are an opportunity for stewardship...how will we respond?