Throw Away That Box

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Sheepdog-Iconography---SoapboxI’m going to touch on a subject here that is, on the surface, only peripherally connected to safety and to church ministry. Most of us have heard throughout our life that we should “think outside the box”. Most often, the well-intentioned person explains that most people live their lives inside a virtual “box”, created by the feelings and experiences, with walls carved out of their fears and beliefs. The motivational speaker will then explain that we must get over those walls and begin to think outside the box. 

Unfortunately, human nature loves walls. Walls make us feel safe and secure. When people begin to “think outside the box”, they get so concerned with making sure that they think “outside” the box that they still define their lives by that SAME BOX. Instead of worrying about the inside dimensions, they worry about the outside dimensions. Are they far enough “outside the box”? Is this idea “outside the box”? What about this one?

I would rather propose a different solution. Do NOT think outside the box. Instead, throw the stupid box away. Let me say that again: Do NOT think outside the box of your thinking; throw the box completely away. When you throw “the box” away, your fears, your doubts and your chains all drop away. What does “no box” thinking look like? Instead of asking, “Is this idea outside the box?” Instead ask yourself, “How can I use this idea?” Don’t be afraid to go for broke. Shoot for the stars – you might hit the moon. You might only reach orbit. At worst, the explosion will be spectacular. Either way, if you don’t throw the box away, you won’t break free.

What does this have to do with a your personal safety, your kids’ safety, or safety at a church? There are concepts on this website where I am going to tell you to break tradition. For personal safety, your “box” may be your preconceived notions and fears about firearms or other protective measures, or your habits and traditions around your daily activity. Only by being open to learning and developing new skills and habits can you break the old ones that may, in the end, harm you.

For your kids, your “box” may be the thought that “every kid willsmoke, drink, do drugs, have sex, or (insert favorite vice here).” I am going to challenge that commonly held belief. I have never knowing drank alcohol, done illegal drugs, or smoked. I was also a virgin when I got married. Parents are told that kids will do these things anyways, but there ARE ways to protect them, raise them, and help them be safe – even in today’s online environment.

In the church, I want you to be open enough to explore what a safety team might look like that functions as a real, soul-saving, God-worshipping ministry. Too often, church safety or security teams are almost an afterthought, they are relegated to “facilities management” and, while the job is increasingly important, simply not treated as a ministry in the church.

I believe that when you throw the box away, all of those hangups, all of those chains can be broken. Try it some time. Soon, the next time someone tells you to “think outside the box”, you’ll smile and tell them, “That’s too limited.”

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