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Simply Insider

Kurt Johnston leads the student ministries team at Saddleback Church in Southern California. His ministry of choice, however, is junior high, where he spends approximately 83.4% of his time.

 

stirstickI go to Starbucks every morning. I’m like an old man stuck in his routine. It’s where I read, write, think, pray, and drink $2.00 tea that I could make at home for 25 cents.

Today, after ordering my tea I headed over to the condiment counter to add some milk and sugar. To my dismay, in the little spot that normally holds the stir sticks was a note that read, “We are out of stir sticks. Sorry!” I was a little surprised, because for a coffee place to run out of stir sticks seems sorta like a hamburger place running out of buns. Forgivable, I suppose.

What was more surprising to me was that two hours later as I was walking out the door…the little note was still there! How many customers had wandered over to the condiment bar hoping to find stir sticks had been left frustrated? Less than 50 yards away sits a grocery store, and I’m pretty sure they sell stir sticks. Now, they may not sell the eco-friendly wooden stir sticks that Starbucks uses, but they certainly sell something.

Why didn’t anybody on the Starbucks team feel empowered to go buy some random stir sticks from the store?
Is sticking to the “approved stir sticks” cited in the manager’s notebook more important than customer service?
Would it have been totally okay to go buy some, but nobody took the initiative?

Those are all questions that went through my mind as I walked out the door. And they raise some interesting questions for those of us who lead youth ministries:

Are you a leader who is creating a culture of empowerment…does your team feel the freedom to problem solve?
In what areas does ministry to people in real-time trump your policies and procedures?
Do you have people on your team who, if given the freedom, take initiative or do they assume somebody else will do it?

– Kurt

8 COMMENTS

  • Matt Beeman says:

    Just heard this TED talk on the subject of people choosing to take action even though it might now be within the rules or policies: http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_our_loss_of_wisdom

  • Matt Beeman says:

    Just heard this TED talk on the subject of people choosing to take action even though it might now be within the rules or policies: http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_our_loss_of_wisdom

  • KJ says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Matt!

  • KJ says:

    Thanks for sharing that, Matt!

  • Nathan says:

    Thanks for the heads up. Glad we go to the same starbucks. But really, loved the thought at the end.

  • Nathan says:

    Thanks for the heads up. Glad we go to the same starbucks. But really, loved the thought at the end.

  • Lola says:

    Most places of retail & service seem to hire people that say”it’s not their job”

  • Dan King says:

    Great article and a resource for youth workers growing their leadership … thanks! I’ve added to the Leadership and Youth Ministry Magazine – http://t.co/FpNzPmOdVH

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