Interesting title for a blog about “Optimizing Ministry”, huh? Many of you may be familiar with Gordon Ramsey’s popular show in the United Kingdom and United States. Chef Ramsey travels to restaurants that are struggling to keep their doors open and performs significant makeovers to help them get back on track. It’s an interesting dynamic as many of these businesses are run by families and a lot of the issues relate to long historic challenges tied to this fact. It’s a very interesting show as usually there are a lot of “turf wars” where everyone has kind of gone off and focused on their own interests and have lost the big picture of how the restaurant is supposed to stay in business. Ramsey is a tough cookie, but through the course of the show, you realize that there is a huge heart behind the bark and he seriously cares about the people, their family, etc. There are many reality shows that have very little redeeming value, but Kitchen Nightmares has been a great microcosm of real life and I hate to hear that Gordon Ramsey is retiring from doing the show after this year.
Kitchen Nightmares highlights a component that people in ministry and non-profits deal with on a daily basis. There are many people involved in the operation, some on a volunteer basis, and they have a perception of the organization that is directly tied to their personal experience. This perception is huge as it provides the catalyst and motivation to work with limited resources in a tough role that can only be done if you are passionate about the organization you serve. Unfortunately, their perspective may not provide the full picture of what it takes for the organization to function, be accountable, and execute their services to those they are committed to serve. Many church leaders deal with this every single day as they know the good and bad that is happening within their church. They must work to minister to all while not being able to provide a full perspective to those that are not engaged at the same level. It’s a huge factor in the amount of burn-out and stress that affect non-profit and ministry leaders. Fortunately, we are seeing more churches encouraging their pastors to take some time away periodically to re-charge their batteries and reset their focus on achieving the goals of the ministry.
The same can be said about organizations trying to focus on the issues of disease in the developing world. The latest Ebola crisis has everyone freaking out and the media trying to give opinion on something they know very little about. The second guessing starts and just continues to create chaos and distraction when focus and attention are needed the most. There have been some serious mistakes made by leaders that seemingly have no idea what they are doing. Unfortunately, it looks like public perception has helped to play a part in these poor decisions, and in turn made the situation and confidence in leadership even worse. Leadership can be a lonely place to be when times get tough, but it is also important to know as a leader that you have a team that is committed to achieve the same goals. The issues of disease in the developing world will not be successful if the team trying to address the situation is not focused on the same goals. Politics, personal agendas, and perspectives of those outside the situation will do nothing to achieve the development of processes and programs to serve the less fortunate dealing with some pretty difficult diseases. There will be a need for some very difficult decisions to be made and the result may cause those that have a limited perspective to question the decisions. This is where leadership will be most needed. The ultimate goal is to address the issues of disease in the developing world and personal perspectives and agendas cannot be allowed to distort the important work that must be done.
It’s amazing what Kitchen Nightmares and the battle against disease in the developing world have in common, isn’t it? Please keep all who are doing battle in the developing world in your prayers, they need it now more than ever!