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No Such Thing As “Non-Essential”


There is a great debate these days about equality and inequality – racial, financial, and social.  How about your men’s ministry?  Equality may mean something different as viewed by a leader.

This came to mind recently when the company I worked for made a series of blunders in the boardroom causing a massive furlough of employees.  Phone calls began on a Friday and colleagues all around me were hit.  I was not one of them.  Why?

You can imagine the fear that day, even if you have never experienced it.  The furloughs were to take place the following Friday.

On the following Monday, the company president announced that only “non-essential” employees were affected.  This meant administrative staff, accountants, receptionists, and even contracts managers, not the professional “talent.”  So in effect, they cut all the hourly employees, those who needed their jobs the most just for survival, including lots of single moms, and kept those who could probably have afforded some time off.  This drove a spear right through the hearts of relationships that had grown for decades – we became the “haves” and the “have-nots.”

By coincidence, I had previously scheduled a project team lunch for what became Furlough Friday to honor everyone who worked on a very hard project I managed.  Or course, projects involve all skills in a well-oiled team, so the lunch involved several of the affected staff.  As we sat down, I stated to my entire team, “I just want you to know that in our business, there is no such thing as ‘non-essential.’”  Tears flowed, laughter took over, and I thought I sensed Jesus smiling.

That event brought back a memory from twenty years ago.  A men’s ministry leader in my church wanted to recruit me for a leadership position in the men’s ministry and used every technique from Dale Carnegie to never take “No” for an answer.  I was much younger, working overtime, with kids in college.  I just didn’t have the time.  He finally concluded the assault when I said “No” for the last time with this: “You have just betrayed our Lord, who has called you to serve, and there will surely be consequences!”

There were consequences.  I ran for the door.  I had become “non-essential” to that leader.

Does this ring any bells?  Does your passion as a leader (rightfully intended) send your brother running for the door?  Or is your first approach to tie a towel around your waist and wash his feet?  Isn’t equality in men’s ministry demanding nothing, loving him unconditionally by serving him, and becoming last so he can be first?

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Guest Author, Larry Beaumont (Streamside Unity), NCMM member, is an emerging author of Christian books. He has published three books and one poem, while spending 45 years as a professional engineer. He has patented three inventions in the renewable energy field.

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