Investopedia explains, “Generally, due diligence refers to the care a reasonable person should take before entering into an agreement or a transaction with another party.” So then if you don’t give due diligence, you’re unreasonable? Maybe unprepared. Perhaps…crazy?
Every November since 2005, I have been participating in NaNoWriMo. That’s the National Novel Writing Month. It’s 30 days of novel writing to reach 50,000 words. I’ve never won. My biggest downfall is being unprepared. I would start off great but then I would hit snags and walls and writing blocks. And I just don’t know how to continue my story. I get stuck. Before I know it, November’s over, but I do it again next year. Crazy? Possibly 🙂
In NaNoWriMo, there are plotters and pansters. I’m a panster. November 1 arrives and pansters write by the seat of our pants. No plan, no plot, no preparation. And this works great for a lot of people. But I’ve been a panster for the past 8 Novembers and have never won, so I’m going to switch track and be a plotter, or a semi-plotter since I haven’t actually started plotting. But I have a few days to give some due diligence to my story because “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” (generally attributed to Einstein).
It’s the same way in the ministry. To reach our God-given goals, we need to give due diligence. Whether we’re in leadership or volunteer positions, we need preparation. Have you led a class by the seat of your pants? It doesn’t work well, especially with kids. They’ll eat you alive. But it’s not just with Sunday School classes or events that we need to give due diligence.
We can give due diligence in:
Training everyone. It’s important for ministry leaders to train their volunteers, but it’s equally important that they receive training. There are ministry conferences that address practical (how-to’s and ministry trends) and spiritual aspects (encouragement and edification).
Background checks for people working with minors. Yeah, this can be costly. So at least get and check references.
Picking curriculum and event materials. I think this is very important. I don’t appreciate people who don’t review what they feed to the people they serve. Christianity has a lot of denominations with different views (ie: regarding speaking in tongues). Christian materials are written in the same way. Unity is important not just among church members, but also in the teachings. They have to agree with the church’s statement of beliefs. Ministry policies need to agree with church policies. Creating division and confusing in your home is just not kosher.
*Breathe* Getting off my soapbox….
We also need to give due diligence to our spiritual lives. Our relationship with God comes first. Not the ministry. Mark 8:36 asks, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” What good would it be for us to do so great in the ministry while our relationship with God suffers? It’s not worth it. Also not worth it is putting the ministry before our family because our family is our first ministry.
So before going all in for the ministry, let’s give due diligence to God, our relationship with Him, and our relationship with our family. And let’s give due diligence in the ministry. We can’t be ministry pantsers.
Some years ago, I had a dream. The girls of my Bible study had arrived and I had just stepped out of the shower. I was getting dressed when they came into my room. I was caught with my pants down. It was more of a nightmare. My sister gets the same nightmare with school and tests. It’s from the fear and anxiety of being unprepared.
Being a pantser in some ways can be fun. I like some degree of spontaneity. I don’t like planning every little thing I do. I feel restricted and suffocated when there’s no flexibility. And in the ministry, we need some flexibility because we don’t know what people and God will do. But in many other ways, we need to be plotters or planners. We need to give due diligence so we don’t get caught with our pants down.