• Stay in Your Own Lane!

Posted by: kidhelper on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013



Maybe it has happened to you? You’re driving on a four-lane freeway (two lanes in one direction) the driver on your right, rushes up behind a slower eighteen-wheeler truck. You are in a line of traffic going 70 mph. He attempts to weasel his way into your lane of traffic, without signaling or getting any permission to do so. He just merges into your lane unsafely—taking a position tightly in front of you. This impacts all the cars behind you when you have to brake to avoid hitting this intruder. This obviously slows everyone down in your lane, including you. We have to adjust our driving speed to absorb this intrusion. Maybe you can understand the anger produced by this unsafe switching of lanes.

With over fifty years of driving experience, I have witnessed these near fatal mishaps on the road many times—too many times! Driving defensively means you anticipate any slight encroachment from the car in the lane next to you. Your periphery vision is on “full alert” in traffic like this for just such movement.

In Children’s Ministry, I have observed how one leader can wander out of their own lane and actually impede the action in the ministry lane of another. It is just easier to mind your own business. Stay out of the issues that do not concern you. Stay in your own lane!

Here are some examples of how one can drift out of their own lane and interfere in your ministry.

1. Occupy Your Own Space (keep eyes on the road) Thinking you are having a conversation with a staff person in the office, only to discover that this person you are not talking to begins to participate in your conversation—like they were included. You ask a rhetorical question and they answer it. Hearing is one thing, but responding to someone else’s overheard conversation is like crossing the line. The solution? Find another private place to talk.

2. Road is Not Well Marked (confusion abounds) When staff members do not have clear job descriptions, there can more opportunities for crossing lanes into another’s territory–no lines. When new staff members are added, it might be a good time to review your old job description. It can keep everyone in line.

3. Crossovers from the Big Boys (big vehicles rule) In Staff meeting, those who have no responsibility for children’s ministry respond to your report and quickly pontificate what you should be doing. They are trying to solve your problems when you did not ask for their participation. Hopefully, this is not the weekly occurrence. The solution? Announce when you want their involvement. Ask for it. Avoid this cross overs.

4. Watch Out For “Road Hogs.” (the takers—usurpers) You are on vacation or out sick for a week. A well-intentioned staff person, in an effort to help, may articulate a response for you in your absence, taking a position, with no authority to do so. This can impact you once you learn of it. Solution? Hunt them down and correct the information wrongly disseminated.

5. Some Learn the Hard Way (accidents happen) It is too easy to comment on someone’s wrong decision and policy, when you have no responsibility to do so. Some people have to learn by the consequences of their own mistakes, you cannot rescue all those around you—unless you are asked to participate. Leave it alone. Solution? Leave room for people to learn from their own mistakes—they become responsible when they have to correct it.

6. Watch Your Own Lane (pay attention to business) When an area is beyond the scope of your authority, admit it and do not wade into the traffic in the next lane. Do not lose focus on what is happening to your vehicle and stay in your lane. Keep your blinders on! It will keep you from wandering too close to the line.

7. Ignore Angry Gestures (two wrongs are not right) You just have to ignore the comments of others who have opinions, but no responsibility, nor authority to altar your direction and plans. If you have worked hard for ownership with your staff and leaders, someone outside that group needs to be seen as a last minute crossover attempt into your lane. This is not to say you do not hear feedback, but if you are on an “approved” course, you should maintain your spot in the line of traffic—hold your position, ignore insulting responses.

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