You’re Not Building a Steinway

When I was in graduate school and seminary simultaneously (don’t ever do this!), we got pregnant with my first son Deacon. I went scrambling for a summer job, and a framing carpenter felt sorry for me and hired me temporarily.

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When “Right” is all wrong

They say that to a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I guess I wasn’t a man, because I was very reluctant to swing the hammer.

But I began methodically pretending to be a carpenter.

Over in the corners of the soon-to-be-home where my work would never be visible to another human eye, I took my time and did everything “right”. Except my boss didn’t want me to take my time. And my version of “right” was so right that it was all wrong.

“You’re not building a Steinway”, he said at least 10 times that first week.

Rhythm and momentum

When you’re getting started with a church plant, or even with leading a missional community, you experience much the same thing. There is a sense of urgency: “I must get working now.”

But accompanying that sense of urgency is a strong hesitancy: “I’ve only got one shot at starting this thing, and starting it right.”

Establishing the DNA of a new gospel community is indeed important work that bears careful reflection and a methodical approach. But you’re not building a Steinway. Momentum and a consistent rhythm may be twice as important as having a “plan”. In fact, the only way to know whether your plan has any chance of doing what you want it to is to dig in and get going.

You’re not building a Steinway. But what you do hope to see built is something far more beautiful than a Steinway. Something that makes music more transcendent than any Julliard pianist could produce. And something not just more beautiful and transcendent, but much more forgiving.

So get rolling. You’ll figure it out as you go.

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2 thoughts on “You’re Not Building a Steinway

  1. Good stuff. Dr. Bell at Erskine told us “8 is enough.” That is, you don’t always have to be a “10” in kingdom work if 8 will do a respectable job. He was talking especially about the endless cycle of papers and projects for seminary students who are also serving full time ministries, but I think it applies to the hard task of church planting. Sunday comes every 7 days!

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