My pastor, Ron Edmondson, often says that we as a church staff need to be at the point where, if any of our staff members disappeared tomorrow, we could carry on without missing a beat.  I’ve heard him say that a lot, and I almost saw it put into practice in my own life just a few months ago.

I was stuck in London because of a volcano.

I was stuck in London because of a volcano.

I put that sentence in there twice so you would know it wasn’t a typo.  I mentioned it in my post HERE, and you can read the Guardian’s article HERE.  Welcome to my life.

Based on my original flight schedule, I was planning on being back ~a week earlier than our upcoming small group launch, but this volcano was threatening my on-time arrival.  Needless to say, I was a little concerned.  About as concerned as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs (as we say in the South).

I was talking back and forth with our staff, updating them on our lack of progress, and beginning to think about the possibility of pushing back our small groups launch.  Then Ron dropped this bomb in my lap via email:

I hate that you can’t be there, but we have to be prepared enough that we don’t revolve around one of us being there or not being there.  Something could always happen like this and the ministry must go on… There are some things just out of our control.

Basically, what I heard was, “You’re dispensable.”  Mark my words: our staff could’ve pulled this event off, and it would’ve been awesome.  I have no doubt.  But hearing that was difficult.  Why?

Not because I want to be important, or need to feel powerful.  Or because I’m narcissistic and think that the ministry has to revolve around me, and I have to be in the spotlight.  Honestly, I’m not a spotlight guy…I’m content spending my hours in the background.  But here’s why it bothered me:

I want to be a linchpin.

A linchpin* is a fastener that secures the add-on at the business end of a tractor.  It’s a small piece, but without it, you can’t do much with your tractor, and your tools will continually fall off.  It’s an irreplaceable piece of equipment that allows more work to be done more efficiently.

And that’s what I’m working to do in my current position at Grace Community Church.

I want to be doing meaningful, Kingdom-building work in a way that fits my gifting…with all of my might.  I want to innovate, create, encourage, and train in such a way that, if I disappeared tomorrow, it would be noticed.  And I say that with every ounce of humility I can muster.  I want to become indispensable.

I feel that if I’m not working to become indispensable, I’m not serving the Church well.  I’m just doing a job, punching the clock, and doing mediocre work.  My good friend Matt Harmer rightly warns that

Being average is contagious.

I just can’t see how God is pleased with mediocre, half-hearted work.

And I’m convinced that if you’re not working to become a linchpin, you need to start working differently.  Or find a new job.

Ever been caught in the trap of mediocre work?

Is God ever pleased with half-hearted mediocrity?

*I read Seth Godin’s Linchpin when it was released earlier this year, so I don’t claim creative rights to this idea…though the story is most definitely mine.