Good Shepherd staff meetings offer fascinating insights into the natural instincts that people bring into ministry.
And recently, as we have been strategizing around the launch of Zoar, the opening of the Living Room, and opportunities for long-term expansion, I have noticed that we have two groups of people:
Some are natural reachers.
And others are natural preservers.
Reachers respond to new ministry opportunities and the risks they entail with a “Whoa! We HAVE to do this. Think of all the people we can invite into a living relationship with Jesus Christ!”
Preservers react to those same ideas with a subtle (or not so subtle) sense of dread: “Uh-oh. What if this new direction alienates people I’ve worked so hard to connect to the church! I want to do all I can to preserve and protect who we got.”
And . . . this might surprise some of you reading this . . . my natural instincts are towards preservation.
Now: I knock on doors. I have ideas. I have some pretty strong opinions on some pretty divisive issues. I give calls for salvation. So I have a streak of reaching.
But my gut reaction, my natural instinct, in the face of a vexing dilemma, is towards preservation. Towards playing it safe and building incrementally on what and who we already have.
All that to say that I’m glad Scripture defines the church as a body with different parts, each of whom bring different gifts to the mix. Because if we were a staff full of natural preservers, then the people of Good Shepherd would feel well loved but rarely challenged. And if our leaders were all reachers, then the people of the church might feel neglected in the pursuit of the “not yet” crowd.
But we have both. Hopefully, our reachers will lean into preserving and our preservers will stretch into reaching.