Plumb Lines in a Pandemic, part 2
As church leaders begin to re-engage with in-person weekend services, I thought it might be fitting to revisit our Plumb Lines series, specifically applying those steady principles to our current uncertainty.
A plumb line is a construction tool used to determine whether or not something is perfectly upright. In our context, a plumb line is a short, sticky phrase intended to keep us aligned with our guest services values.
The why is more important than the what.
Our second plumb line serves as a continual course correction for our team. Many of our volunteers are Type A people: they want to know exactly what to do to get the job done. Set up plans, parking ingress plans, and seating plans make a Type A’s heart beat faster. But more important than what they do when they show up is why they are showing up in the first place: we want to serve our guests as a reflection of the generosity of Christ.
Pre-COVID, that plumb line meant that we constantly reminded our team that why they are serving is a bigger deal than how they serve or what they do while they serve. But now – more than ever – that why is a really big deal.
How does this apply as we re-gather?
If our why is serving guests as a reflection of the way Christ has served us, that means in a world where everything is changing, this is one thing that doesn’t have to change. The why still stands firm. The why means we can have an anchor that keeps us from drifting off course.
And in a global pandemic, the why gives even more weight to our what.
In the last post, I said that we should both show our work and display grace. If we’re serving the way Christ served us, our why compels us to go above and beyond in keeping our community safe. It means our team will willingly wear masks, not because they’re comfortable, but because it demonstrates to a guest that we care about their safety. It means we won’t simply meet standard cleaning protocols, but we’ll exceed them: not because it’s expedient or cheap to do so, but because it communicates care to our guests.
But a solid why also means that we’re careful as we enforce the what: we recognize that not all guests think our response is needed or necessary. We recognize that some guests will push back against new restrictions. That’s okay. We can follow the rules and display grace. We can follow the plans for the things we do and remember why we’re doing them.
In this new season, there will be many new whats that you have to communicate to your team. But don’t just build the what without reminding them of the foundation of the why.