We just had to cancel a program recently due to lack of registrations. I hate doing that. I worry that it is a reflection somehow that I have failed in some way… Did I not get the word out correctly? Did my flyer or video of bulletin announcement suck? Did I mis-read the needs, wants, or desires of the crowd… of my base… of the customers?
I have really begun to wonder about how much time I (and we) spend selling in youth ministry…. Recruiting for the next event or program, fund-raising to support the next program, sales-pitching the next concept or theory?
Instead, I have begun to try to imagine how we might become better about buying more. I hope to:
> Invest more. I want to spend my time and effort in the stock of others… how can I be more concerned about you as a disciple rather than a consumer, as a colleague rather than as a gate-keeper, as a fellow shepherd rather than just another lamb?
There is a justifiable busy-ness to the business of selling. One can show time spent in developing advertising, in recruiting, etc. But, instead of selling someone of “what’s next,” I hope that I (and we) might get better about being in the moment of being with the others as an outlay in the lives of others in anticipation that they might be able to “double down” and do the same.
> Produce More towards Open Source. A consumer mentality to our ministry has us develop things in anticipation of selling it to get others to buy in… which is funny for those of us in a field renown for our own “creative theft” of programming. This already has become a value in my own life as a blogger and as a partner of collaborative efforts such as ReBuildMyChurch. What initiatives and efforts can I buy into (especially within the local church) not with the anticipated outcome of selling it as much as just out and out giving it away for the benefit and betterment of others?
> Retire. There was a real benefit towards the example of Benedict XVI’s retirement. There is only so much you can do, and then it is ok to take time away to pray, set back awhile and read for inspiration and affirmation. I do not live a monastic sort of life, so making time for family and friends is also essential for living. A salesperson would consider these all wastes of time but these are also areas where I (we) must endow our energies. One can lead more not necessarily by doing more but by praying more, learning more, and loving more.
I have been too busy in my office selling.
It very well might be the programs that I will list on resume if I am looking for the next thing…. But I darn well do not want the programs listed out during my eulogy as I enter into the next life. I rather be known for what “I bought into.”
I’ve got to get some seeds.
I’ve got to get some seeds, right away.
I don’t have a thing in the ground.
– Arthur Miller, Death of a Salesman, Act 2