Of the many lessons I have learned over the years in ministry, flexibility is one of the more important.
Every day there are new challenges and new things that come up. Surprise in schedules and unforeseen issues are common occurrences when dealing with people. As long as we realize that and are flexible, there are no problems with this.
I have heard it joked before that the ministry and church would be great if it weren’t for the people. What a sad view. People, or more specifically individuals are what the church and the ministry are about. Of course, God is our central focus, but our earthly mission is reaching and training and equipping and encouraging people.
With people, there will be the unexpected, the uncertain. To be inflexible and think that everything has to be just so and on a certain schedule will just cause frustration and, even worse, ineffectiveness. Every ministry group and missions team I have ever led, this word has been a major part of our language. On one trip we used the phrase, “everything is tentative until the day after.” Just for emphasis, I would sometimes add, “and even then it may change.”
As we look at the life of Christ, He was flexible. His day changed often based upon the needs of those He was ministering to. A servant is sick, He stopped to heal. A little girl has died, Jesus went to her and brought life. A woman at a well needs forgiveness, Jesus is there.
As the unexpected comes our way each day, may we be full of enough grace to do what Jesus would do and remain flexible.