Over the years I have been friends with many carpenters. For some reason, God has placed many different individuals in the construction industry in my life. I hung out with them and I sought to try to learn their trade, really to no avail. I’m just not a handy guy!
Regardless, I learned something very important. Measure twice, cut once.
Sometimes we would be working together with my friend, The Finish Carpenter. He had expensive wood that he would use to hang crown molding and to make beautiful finish carpentry sculptures inside of million-dollar homes. I went with him and sometimes he actually allowed me to make some cuts and help him. Why? I really don’t know, but I picked up some valuable lessons from him.
One of the lessons was measure twice, cut once. With this expensive wood, I only had one shot. If I cut this piece of expensive oak wood in the wrong place, the entire board would be rendered useless. Not an effective strategy.
Take the Time
So, we in children’s ministry need to think about our changes, our communications, and even our emails. Think about them twice, pull the trigger once. If I could take an extra three to four minutes to reread my email prior to sending, that’s exercising the value of measure twice, cut once. Once I hit send, it’s hard to retract that email.
Before making a change in ministry, I want to go through a series of checks and balances, questions, understandings, and communications and so on before I rashly communicate a change. It’s hard to go back from publicly communicating something as a leader. I want to measure twice, cut once.
In addition, let’s say that I have a challenging parent meeting coming up. I have a parent who is upset and I don’t necessarily know how I’m going to manage the situation. A wise strategy is to measure twice and cut once. I only get one shot to be face to face with this parent. Do I want to go back and reopen this issue four and five times so I can finally get my phrasing right? I may just get one shot at reconciling or putting this upset parent at ease.
Measuring twice and cutting once in this scenario might mean that you script out what you want to discuss and fine tune and craft your words carefully. You may not use that script during your meeting, but it allows you to collect and gather your thoughts on paper ahead of time. That’s measuring twice. That’s not going into the meeting and starting to cut boards knowing that once you say it, it’s out there and done.
Discipline and Diligence
Being an intelligent leader is acting with discipline and diligence to be thoughtful and not rash and impulsive. An impulsive carpenter wastes a lot of wood. An impulsive children’s ministry leader burns a lot of bridges and wastes a lot of boards. Boards that could be used to build a bridge but now are laying in the scrap heap.
Measure twice, cut once.