Scaling

I read a lot about more. More readers. More emails. More sales. More pages. I sometimes try little things to get more readers, more emails, more sales.

It’s a thing called scaling. We want to scale up production, impact, significance, outreach. We want to have all of whatever that we can possibly have.

And sometimes I feel a little bit of failure when I don’t get more.

I think you might, too. Actually, I know you do, because I’ve talked with you.

But here’s a lesson I’m learning in one part of my life that I think has application to many parts of my life: Chaplaincy doesn’t scale.

The other day, I had a conversation with a couple. It was very sweet, very tear-provoking. All three of us knew that some day, inevitably, something is going to take over a brain. And when it does, there is nothing that can be done.

The conversation took time. And energy.

I imagine trying to scale that conversation, to bring three or four other people from the same hallway facing some of the same things. I imagine going on Facebook live with the conversation, I imagine a webinar with this couple.

But I’m crying as I type those words. Because the intimacy of that moment would be completely destroyed, devastated, by anyone else in the space. There is a holy space created when we realize that we traveled, we were carried, we were called for years and miles to be with this person now.

generationsMy friends, a viral audience may be two people, if they are the ones who need your words and silence and presence. Sometimes the biggest impact we can have is by being as faithful as we can and as present as we can be with the smallest audience there is: the person in front of us.

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

3 thoughts on “Scaling

  1. 100% agreed.

    I couldn’t help but think of Matthew 25…

    44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
    45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’

    Jesus spoke to crowds, but He also invested his time heavily in a very small group.

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