A few years ago I began developing a small allergic skin reaction that went from a minor annoyance to a major issue that had to be dealt with. It began around Thanksgiving and continued to get worse through Christmas. This allergic reaction that was beginning to chip away at my holiday joy. The question was; what was triggering this intense reaction?
We reviewed my diet, soaps, and lotions/perfumes my wife used, etc. Then we went out of town to my in-laws house for New Year\’s and low and behold the reaction began to diminish. What changed? My first night back home in our freshly washed sheets ignited a major allergic reaction. I woke up at 1am, freakin’ out, itching all over from a full-blown allergic breakout on my skin. I discovered the trigger…laundry soap. At first, my wife thought I was nuts because it was the same brand we had always used. But then we realized it was some enhanced version of the same brand. There must have been something new in the laundry detergent that was causing this allergy. That “something” was the source of my pain for more than a month. As we run our ministries, there will be times when minor issues develop into situations that can chip away at the health and effectiveness of our ministries. There are four type of triggers that can affect the ministry:
Emotional triggers- How are people doing emotionally? Are they sad, hurt, or frustrated? The emotional health of your church can trigger issues on a multitude of levels-good or bad.
Physical triggers- Physical or environmental things can affect more people than you think. Slight changes in where things are placed or how things look can trigger a reaction from the people. Even slight changes can step on toes.
Spiritual triggers- Are you in a healthy relationship with the Lord? Are your leaders growing in the faith? The effectiveness of a ministry is built on the spiritual health of your church leadership.
Social triggers- What\s happening in your community or in the lives of people outside the church? The economy or local tragedies can trigger a reaction in you church community.
Reactions, like my allergic reaction, can be annoying or painful at times but they are opportunities to become more aware. When a church is moving along on cruise control we sometimes miss the triggers that can throw us off course. Catching these triggers early on allows for quick correction and proactive steps, which can prevent a major breakout. The key is to consistently observe and monitor your ministry for potential triggers that can generate a negative reaction and catch it before it gets out-of-control.