I’m elbow-deep in my family’s second annual Legofest, where we dedicate our spare moments to rebuilding every Lego set in the house.
I’ve learned a lot since last year, but what I’ve learned has really slowed me down. In particular, I’ve learned how to include my kids.
Last year, I introduced Legofest as a way to serve the children. I would rebuild all their Lego sets for them, thus providing them with a load of “new” toys to enjoy through the winter. But the problem was that my kids wanted to join me in the work; and their help was not always very helpful.
They’d pick something to start building. They would search for the first few pieces. They would complete the first few steps. But they’d quickly hit a problem, where they couldn’t find a specific piece amid the piles of carnage. But they’d find an identical shape in a different color; they’d settle for this lucky find and go on their way. By the end, we were missing all sorts of pieces, and we had to unbuild a few automobiles to swap out the necessary parts.
This year, I decided to get in front of the problem, and I banned the children from all Legofest activities. That is, until I realized I was a terrible parent for doing so. What sort of father would do that to his kids?
I’ve now done all I can think of to include the children in the building process, with some clear ground rules for when we can and cannot substitute imperfect pieces. And I’ve gotten better at teaching them how to build and how to find the right pieces. The problem with this is, of course, that the building takes longer than it did last year. Inclusion comes with a great cost to efficiency.
Building Legos and Training Bible Study Leaders
Training a new Bible study leader is like Legofest in this way: Inclusion tends to work against efficiency. If your goals are to keep your calendar clean and to minimize the time you spend in preparation, it’s not worth it to train an apprentice. But of course, the larger cost is that your ministry will always center around you. Training is inefficient. It takes time, effort, repetition, initiative, coaching, careful attention, and repetition.
So the first step for training apprentices is to invite them to watch you. Bring them into the planning process, and talk it through together. Slow yourself down, pull back the curtain, and show them the way. Adjust your expectations so you’re not surprised when it takes more time and effort.
Is it worth it to you?