When my two friends and I got in line at a burger restaurant recently, we had no idea that it would take so long. After we moved forward a few feet, the line quit advancing. I noticed that the employees taking orders had stopped their work and were focused on their computers, which had apparently frozen up.
There was nothing wrong in the kitchen, so after the cooks had filled all the orders they had, they too began standing around waiting, just as most of the other employees were doing. Eventually someone decided to help keep the customers by passing out some samples of their shakes and fries—which was the tasty positive in the wait. Maybe 45 minutes after the line stalled, someone finally got out pencil and paper and began taking orders.
I could’ve suggested this much earlier if they had asked anyone over 40. But they were married to their method and weren’t thinking outside the box.
When we depend on one way of doing things, it’s easy to miss other obvious choices because we sit around waiting expectantly for our plans and methods to work as they always have.
But what if they’ve never work the same again? Are we asking those affected for input as to why things aren’t working and ideas for alternatives? Do we discuss the issue with experienced people? Are we open to brand new methods?
We who are older have to let go of what we’ve always done, even if it was wildly successful at some point. I worked in a church that had been quite successful with a traditional women’s mentoring program that was a shadow of what it had been. That forced us to prayer. It meant that we began listening well to younger women as to what they needed rather than just keep going in the same direction.
For younger leaders, it’s healthy to ask more experienced leaders about the history of what’s worked and hasn’t. They may have a very practical idea to help. (Like using paper!)
Sometimes God needs our plans to fail, so we quit depending on a method and start depending on him.
Failure may be the signal that it’s time for Plan B.