Mark Driscoll often talks about the importance of working on his church, and not only in his church. At one point he compares it being the captain of a ship. For example: If the captain is spending all his time settling fights among crew members (or something along those lines), he will never be able to fix the structural problems of the ship itself. Church leadership is analogous. If the lead pastor only has time to meet with current members, to do everything from settling disputes or doing pre-marital counseling, he will never have time to improve the fundamental structure of the church itself.
How appropriate that Driscoll’s church is in Seattle, and that I learned the above lesson working as a supervisor at a Starbucks. On Saturday we had four people working at one point and business was slow. I was trying to busy myself with little “to-do” tasks, like stocking cups, lids, sleeves, etc. Then it hit me that I had time and means to improve the store overall. Several parts of the store were disorganized and messy, and I could work to fix them instead of busying myself with smaller tasks. Basically, I could work on the store, instead of just in the store. I spent the next hour or two organizing some of our messier cabinets, creating spaces for things that would otherwise be shoved somewhere out of the way. I labeled a lot of spaces for specific items, and generally improved the organization of the store.
Here’s the lesson I learned: we easily fall into ruts of survival and maintenance. At least I do. But I must continue to look for opportunities to improve the basic structure and systems where I have responsibility. Entropy applies to all things. I must continue to strive for excellence by working on the something and not only in it, whether it’s a coffee shop or the church of Jesus.