Getting People Moving

On Saturday I was helping a friend move across town, and it brought to my mind a period in my life a long time ago when I was in a small group that seemed to have someone moving about once a month. It’s a big job, with a significant time commitment. So a couple of friends and I developed a list of rules for helping someone move, and I think there may be a comparison here for spiritual leadership in general.


Rule 1: Preparations need to be made. “Moving day” means nothing if the person moving hasn’t started packing boxes yet. [Application: good leadership means knowing what resources and people need to be pulled together before the task begins. And everyone needs to know who is responsible for what.]
Rule 2: Many hands make light work. We moved our four-person household once in just two hours because we had recruited a lot of helpers and made sure they had something to do. [Application: Get lots of people involved, not just an elite few.] Which leads to…
Rule 3: No standing around. Volunteer moving crews tend to work in spurts. But if capable bodies stand around, the task becomes much longer and frustrating. It can easily take twice as long as it needs to. [Application: Ask volunteers to take initiative with what is before them, not just what they’re told to do.] In order to prevent that…
Rule 4: There has to be a mastermind for the move. That may be the owner of the house who is the one who can stand in the middle of the fray and give people orders (and that’s what volunteer helpers want). Or it may be an experienced mover who knows the logical order of loading couches and chairs, boxes and beds. This person should not be afraid to crack the whip and bark orders. Pizza and a job quickly done is all that is needed to bring satisfaction to a volunteer crew. [Application: Someone needs to be in charge. Not the same person for every task. And no one person should be closed to suggestions. But chaos is a waste of time.]

You can make the comparison to some task you need to accomplish in a group, a church, a school, a ministry, a business. 1. Preparations need to be made. 2. Many hands make light work. 3. No standing around. 4. There has to be a mastermind. Or, maybe you just want to apply this set of rules the next time you help someone move their household. Just don’t forget the pizza.

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