Is Your Ministry About Changing the Oil or Designing the Engine?

Builder or Maintenance Person?

Would you rather change the oil or design the engine? It isn’t a rhetorical question, so I’m asking you to ask yourself seriously what you’d rather do.

Changing the oil is a routine task. It takes place within known parameters, and there is a predictability to it. But, as they say of the dogs that don’t lead a sled, the view rarely changes…

Designing the engine is mostly conceptual. There are lots of fits and starts, lots of wadding of paper, a lot of trial and error. It takes place in your head, and there is a creative aspect to it. There’s also a lot, I say a LOT of pressure…[Tweet "Is Your Ministry About Changing the Oil or Designing the Engine?"]

In church music and worship ministry, not many of us get to design the engine. Too many of us simply change the oil, metaphorically speaking.

But there is a third option: You can use your creativity to “fine tune” the engine, take care of all the parts — not just the oil, but the filters, the gaskets, the hoses, the belts and the other moving parts. I think that’s real ministry. You have to know — by listening carefully for a tell tale sound, or looking for cracks and wobbles — what is “normal” and what needs immediate attention. And you can’t do it by reading a manual. It is something that takes a lot of paying attention, and learning by observation and asking people who have been “around the block.”

So I ask again? Which do you prefer? Your answer may say a lot about the shape of your ministry…

Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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