Measure Twice, Cut Once

josh denhart Apr 23, 2020

Over the years, I’ve become friends with many carpenters. For some reason, God has placed many individuals from the construction industry into my life. I’ve spent time with them, and sought to learn their trade—to no avail. I’m just not a handy guy. Regardless, I learned a very important principle that my construction friends work by: measure twice, cut once.

Sometimes, I’d be working with my friend, The Finnish Carpenter. This man had expensive wood that he would use to make crown molding and beautiful Finnish carpentry sculptures inside million-dollar homes. Sometimes, he actually allowed me to make some cuts and help him. I don’t know why he did this, but I picked up some valuable lessons from him. With the expensive wood he used, we only had one shot. If I cut a piece of expensive oak in the wrong place, the entire board would be rendered useless—not an effective strategy.

Ministry leaders need to think about our changes, communications, and even our emails. Think about them twice, and then pull the trigger once. If I take an extra three to four minutes to reread my email prior to sending it, that’s measuring twice and cutting once. Once I hit Send, I can’t retract those words. Before making a change in ministry, I go through a series of checks and balances, questions, and double-checking before I communicate the change.

Let’s say I have a challenging parent meeting coming up with a parent who’s upset. I don’t necessarily know yet how I’m going to handle the situation. I only get one shot to be face-to-face with this parent. If I fail to plan, I could end up reopening this issue four or five times just to get my phrasing right; or I could spend the time making sure that I script out my words and craft them carefully. I may not use that script during the meeting, but it allows me to gather my thoughts on paper ahead of time. That’s measuring twice.

Being an intelligent leader involves acting with discipline and diligence—it’s being thoughtful instead of impulsive. An impulsive carpenter wastes a lot of wood. An impulsive ministry leader burns a lot of bridges. Measure twice, cut once.



This article was written by Josh Denhart



Josh Denhart is a children's ministry curriculum writer and children's ministry performer. Josh is a seasoned educator with BA in Chemistry Education, a MA in Effective Instruction, and earned National Board Certification in Young Adult and Adolescent Science. As a former High School chemistry teacher, Josh melded his love for Science and Christ, creating “The Amazing Chemistry Show”, a traveling gospel-centered stage show with fire, explosions and foam. Carrying this Ministry of Chemistry even further, Josh created “Science VBS”, an internationally celebrated Vacation Bible School curriculum.


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