From May 2005
I live in northern Indiana in the path of the snow belt from Lake Michigan. We call it Lake Effect. I think that's intended to remind us that we get to enjoy the water and beaches of the great lake... when it's warm. I bring all that up to say that when it finally starts getting warmer, we Hoosiers find ourselves in the path of the department of transportation - fixing pot holes. Some days I prefer the snow.
Today was one such day. This morning on my way to a breakfast meeting I approached the main thoroughfare out of my neighborhood and discovered the DOT boys were out. Actually, I assumed there was more than one, although one was all I could see at the moment. And he was in my way.
He'd pulled up to the stop sign where I needed to make a right turn to get to my meeting on time. Only his truck was twice as wide as my car and he was sitting on the wrong side of the road. A large barrel barricade blocked my path to the right. Just as I pulled up behind him, hoping he would drive out of my way, he hopped out of his truck to complete his job.
As he grabbed the final barricade that would block my on-time arrival for breakfast, he made eye contact with me. "Good", I thought, "he'll see that he's in my way, move a barrel and I'll drive on." But that's not what happened. Instead, he placed his barricade firmly in front of me, shook his head and pointed me in the opposite direction. The road crew he was setting up for had not begun their work yet; there was no traffic lined up behind me. He could have moved one barricade and waved me quickly through. Instead, he denied me access and assured my tardiness.
I was not happy. And he didn't care.
This guy had forgotten several things. For starters he'd forgotten that my taxes write his paycheck. He'd also forgotten that the road work he was doing was for me and my neighbors. Ultimately, he'd forgotten that he was in this role as a public servant, and he'd forgotten to serve. He had an agenda, a task, and he was focused. Asphalt.
The serving teams in my church and your church have an agenda, a task. There are places to be, bulletins to print and assemble, kids' programs to run, a service to prepare and lead. We have an agenda. But all that we're doing, down to the scraping of snow on a spring day where there shouldn't be any, should flow from a heart of serving because people matter. In your guests' eyes, any other motivation becomes a barricade.
At Granger Community Church our mission is "helping people take their next step toward Christ... together." Is your agenda giving your guests and members access to their next step? If not, reevaluate who's doing the serving, what the serving role really is and the motivation for doing so.
People have more than a breakfast meeting to get to. They're trying to meet Jesus.
Move the barricades... motion 'em through.