It was your usual Sunday morning. All the preparations had been made. Everything was in line, and there was great excitement and expectation for the worship service that would soon follow within the hour. I had meticulously planned and walked through everything that would happen that day with all parties involved. I had rehearsed the band and smoothed every moving part that could possibly be a distraction. I had multiple conversations with the pastor to ensure all hand offs were seamless. I made sure that everyone on the media team knew their cues and were ready to execute.
With everything in line, I walked to the back of the worship center to connect with the media team for a few minutes. I chatted for about five minutes with the guy who ran our screens at the church. We talked about the weather, drama at every level of football, and other general small talk. While I could tell something was a little different about him that morning, the service would be starting soon, so I knew I needed to quickly get into place. We started the service right on time and everything went great…just like we wanted…just like we had planned.
The next Sunday we all arrived ‘business as usual.’ All of us, but one. The screen guy didn’t show. Where was he? That wasn’t like him at all. I had always found him to be completely dependable. As I inquired, one the guys on the media team said, “Oh, he’s having a hard time right now. He’s going through a divorce. His wife left him.” The thoughts that raced through my head those next few minutes were heavy. In fact, years later I still think about that moment. In all of my preparation…in all my attention to detail…in everything that I had deemed important…everything that “mattered”, I had missed something. I had missed something vitally important to the role and opportunity God had given me.
The tragedy in this story is one that I fear has happened more than just that one isolated Sunday a few years ago. It lingers in my mind and in my heart continually in my ministry. If you shoot for leading at a high level of productivity, a common question to ask is ‘what am I missing?’ While this might help catch a lot of things that seem important, or might normally be overlooked, I think a better question we need to constantly be asking ourselves is actually ‘who am I missing?’ At the end of the day, we all have to face the hard reality that we can actually insulate ourselves in the turtle shells of systems and productivity widgets at the expense of missing something, or better yet, someone.
In our lofty pursuit to take the gospel to every man, woman, and child, we have to have quickened hearts and sensitivity to the daily needs God is surrounding us with. People are hurting. Homes are falling apart. Marriages are dissolving. Is it possible that in our ongoing pursuit to do everything just right, in the great ministry paradox we’re just missing it?
What are you missing? Better yet, who are you missing right now?
I’m convinced God has not placed us in the environments we are in, with the influence we have, just to preach better sermons or teach better lectures, just to have smoother worship services or slicker worship teams. God has surrounded you with relationships and people in need of gospel reminders everyday. These are real people, and not just role players.
Who around you right now needs for you to step outside of your system and speak the gospel into their hurting hearts? Who among you is in a marriage or home falling apart that needs reminding of God’s mercy and grace through a brother or sister available to listen and walk with them through this circumstance? Our availability to yield to these situations allows God to change the lives of others, and at the same time stretch us to change as well. When you look back on the time and energy invested where God has placed you, isn’t that what it’s all about?