pouring milk and leading church

When I was doing one of my coffee courses, the barista explained that there were two ways to “lift” the milk – to put the steam wand in so that the milk gets air in it – this is the part of coffee-making where all those odd sounds happen (separate to this is the later process of heating the milk, where you leave the steam wand below the surface).

The first way (much easier) is to line up the steam wand with the pouring spout on the milk jug, using the spout to work out the best position for the steam wand. This way requires very little thought, and comes up with a very good result.

The second way is to ignore the spout, and try and line up the wand by sight and sound; it’s much more difficult, but with practice, it gives a better result than the first way.

When I was doing one of my coffee courses, the barista explained that there were two ways to “lift” the milk – to put the steam wand in so that the milk gets air in it – this is the part of coffee-making where all those odd sounds happen (separate to this is the later process of heating the milk, where you leave the steam wand below the surface).

The first way (much easier) is to line up the steam wand with the pouring spout on the milk jug, using the spout to work out the best position for the steam wand. This way requires very little thought, and comes up with a very good result.

The second way is to ignore the spout, and try and line up the wand by sight and sound; it’s much more difficult, but with practice, it gives a better result than the first way.

This is my fourth year of leading church services, and so I’ve lead quite a few by now – over 25 of them, at least. Unlike the Anglican system that I grew up with, the Presbyterians have no formal way of structuring a church service; it’s at the discretion of the service leader. Until this year, I’d reached a stage where putting a service together was pretty straightforward: I had my service structure: I was given all the extra elements for the service – songs, readings, sermon titles, special announcements and interviews – and I’d fit them all in, and do most things by improvising from a list of bullet points I’d written out.

This year, though, there’s been a change in focus on how service leading is done. Instead of putting things together at the last minute, I’ve been asked to prepare at least four days in advance: to write out prayers instead of making them up on the spot; to consider more carefully the structure of the service, not just to use a tweaked ‘pro-forma’ for putting everything together.

It’s been frustrating: I’ve gone from doing something the easy way, and doing (what I consider to be) a good job of it, to putting much more time and effort in, and seeing a lesser result. Perhaps it’s because I’m paying more attention to different elements, but I now see a lot more room for improvement in the way I do things.

So I’m moving from “way one” to “way two”; not in preparing milk for coffee, but in service leading. I’m just starting to see now that the change in approach will (with God’s help) make some big improvements over time in the way I do things.

Have you tried doing something the hard way so that you can see improvements?

One thought on “pouring milk and leading church”

  1. I know that this isn’t in the same league, but I did make Neenish Tarts – FROM SCRATCH on Saturday (don’t die of shock peoples). And no, it wasn’t a catering or “bring a plate” job either, neither was CWA involved! BTW it took nearly 4 hours with all the chilling, cooling and beating…. 🙂

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