I spent part of my childhood as a missionary’s kid in Lima, Peru. The home we lived in was a tall and skinny red three story concrete building squished like a townhouse between two other houses. From the outside, much of it looked like a castle turret. This is where the staircase was, and underneath the staircase, at the very bottom of the house was a cold, dark, and dusty bathroom with a low ceiling.
The kitchen was across the hall from this bathroom, so we frequently passed by it without giving it any notice. But one night as I was in the kitchen opening a bottle of coke, I heard a ploop.
I paused and listened…
The noise sounded like it was coming from the bathroom. So I quickly rushed across the hallway, turned on the bathroom light, and looked into the toilet.
What appeared to be a big brown worm was swishing around, and then it shot down the hole towards the sewer. But it wasn’t a worm. It was a rat tail. And all around the toilet seat were rat paw prints. I was surprised. I did not know rats could come up from the sewer to the toilet. It was an unexpected problem but easily fixed by placing a weight on the toilet lid.
Expect and plan for unexpected problems in unexpected places.
This may sound impossible, but it is really quite simple. You can never completely prevent problems from occurring. But you can budget resources (time, money, & skills) so that they are available when an unexpected problem arises.
In others words, create margin for your ministry’s time, money, and skills by not scheduling every minute of your day, not spending every dollar in your budget, and not overcommitting yourself to one specific task. Then when an unexpected problem shows up in an unexpected place, you will likely have the resources to solve the problem quickly and effectively.
- How to you prepare your ministry for unexpected problems?