Creating and Maintaining

I’m starting to realize two types of people or at least two extremes where people fall. This is one of those things where I don’t think it’s that important to find that strong of a balance in them both but instead maybe its accepting who you are and doing well in it and depending on others to fill in the gaps. The two extremes would be maintaining and creating.

I start to realize this in my own life because I’m a creator. I love to start things. I love the planning that goes into new ideas and bringing them forth into fruition. I love sitting in a room with my friends and creating new ideas and hashing them out. I know a lot of people like this. They are always starting something new and they always have some sort of new idea on the go. If you know me, you know I’m exactly like that. The problem with people like me is we are always moving to the next thing. We aren’t content with just staying where we are. People like me usually tend to have a lot of leadership abilities, so they are always trying to get people to go with them wherever they go. They try to drag people from new thing to new thing, always trying to go to the next step and have the world follow.

The other types of people, which I think are a pretty good majority of them, are maintainers. They love to walk into something that is already going that they like and live in it. They don’t want to change it, they don’t want to add anything new or take anything a way. They just want it to work, and they are happy just riding it out till its over. In fact they thrive in the routine of it. The problem with these types is that change or spontaneity become issues and are hard to deal with for them.

I was talking to David Fitch last weekend and he was saying how sometimes the best thing a church plant can do is have the guy that started the church leave after five years. In many ways, this makes complete sense. Usually churches are started up by these creative types. The creative types get frustrated when things don’t keep moving forward with new and exciting things, programs or ideas aren’t evolving constantly. Eventually these creative types become disconnected with the community they are leading because they want to bring them to all these new places. Most people in the community are probably the maintaining types and love the way its going and don’t really want to jump on board all these new ideas, let alone have to run them to keep the church going. So you get the church planter out and get a team of people or a person who knows how to maintain and keep things going well and moving forward. I don’t think it’s bad or wrong to maintain, I think it’s a necessary part of the life of an idea because the fact is that after five years the idea is working; it doesn’t need to be created anymore, but kept going.

This isn’t true just for church plants, but I think it’s true for life. With careers and play; these personalities traits peak through the surface and change the way people walk into and inside circumstances. The key is understanding who you are and working within it. If you are a creator, chances are you get frustrated easily when your original idea that has been moving forward for a while isn’t still moving forward and no one really cares if it does or not. If you are a maintainer, odds are you are frustrated at your leader for not taking care of the needs here and now and always starting something new. When these two types can work together, I think you have something beautiful on your hands. Maintainers when working together can create a breeding environment for creators because they free them up to go out and do what they do best. To learn who you are and who you work with is will be crucial to the continuing success of new ideas. Sometimes the creator needs to leave the original idea altogether to go and start something new and sometimes the creator needs to stick around but needs the freedom to keep creating. Find your role and live it and it will be a beautiful thing and your relationships will work well together.

8 thoughts on “Creating and Maintaining”

  1. I would agree with Tom. Have you ever thought…. some things shouldn’t change?
    For instance; fries under the bridge. It was a creative idea 50 years ago. So simple and did its job perfectly. What if we put a restaurant there to change with the times? That would suck.
    Is there anything wrong with not growing?

  2. nc … this is good, and good for you to see early on in life and ministry ( and marriage … is rachel a creative starter or a maintainer? :)

    i wrote someone this morning about that continuum of dream > design > develop > deploy > delegate > demise > durge … so it is interesting you are thinking about this stuff.

    on another front, i spent a day with bobb beihl and he talked about 80% of the population being problem solvers, only 15% being goal setters ( and they tend to think everyone else should be ), but even less at 5% are opportunity oriented ( not opportunists he said ).

    i guess there are problem solvers that fix stuff when it is broken ( retro? ) and those that anticipate fixing things; i wouldn’t know about the goal setters, but i see a few kinds of “opportunity” people … those who simply recognize an opportunity when presented with it, those who seize opportunities when at all possible, and those that create them. i realized our church’s pastoral team is heavily opportunity oriented, and opportunity creators at that, our elders are problem solvers when a need presents itself ( with the exception of one goal setter … no wonder he is the odd man out sometimes ), and the vast majority of our people are happily in maintainland. it is good to be aware.

    i didn’t think your post was saying we have to be changing or growing things, i think your observations just said there are different kinds of people, so try to recognize that, and if you can find a complementary team it might all work?


  3. I don’t think I fit into either category.
    But maybe because I should probably say maintainer and I don’t like the way Nathan described it?

  4. I read somewhere that people are constantly changing in order to keep things the way they are. If this is true, then we are a people of change, we just don’t realize it. Are you talking about the issue of people’s aversion to change which in your eyes makes them a maintainer, or are you talking about peoples aversion to tradtion becasue it is tradtion and therefore they feel the need to create change.

  5. I don’t know if I’m talking about either. By maintaining I don’t think I am trying to say that they don’t like to change or evolve, in fact I think to ‘maintain’ (I’m starting to realize that the word maintain might not be best for what I’m trying to say) properly means to change and evolve with the cirumstances, not to keep the same no matter what.

    I’m trying more to point out two different people’s that I see, one loves to create and lead people into new ideas and creations and the other like to keep these ideas going and evolving while the original creator often is on to creating new things.

  6. Nathan,

    I love your stuff and maybe this journal entry is simply your rambling that resides in your heart. I like that. I like that you are thinking out loud and wrestling with this stuff. It gives us all something to think about with you. You may be right or you maybe wrong, but at least you are thinking.

    Maybe consider wrestling through the maintainers distinction a little bit. Expand it, pull it, tear it up and rebuild it. Why? Because you can.


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