(Apology: For the places where I have occasionally mixed my metaphors in this piece, readers may want to know that this is my spiritual gift . Thank you very much.)
Smiley Anders, humor columnist for the New Orleans Advocate, ran this story this week.
An automobile mechanic was removing the cylinder head from an engine when he spotted a well-known cardiologist in the customer area. “Hey, doc,” he called. “Want to take a look at this?”
The eminent physician walked over. The mechanic said, “Look at this engine, Doc. I opened its heart, removed the valves, repaired or replaced anything damaged, then put everything back in place. And when I finished, it worked like new.”
“So, how is it I make $64,000 a year and you make a million when we’re both doing the same work?”
The cardiologist said, “Try doing it with the engine running.”
Repairing a damaged church “with the engine running”–that is, in the midst of continuing operations–is much harder than starting afresh with a church plant and building it right and healthy from the ground up. You’re making repairs “in flight,” so to speak.
By “repairing a damaged church,” we refer to any number of situations. Some we have encountered include these: