The Different Drummer - October 2010
Musings from the Minister
“Times they are a changing…” sang Morgan and Peter Morse at a recent Sunday service, and oh how right they were! Paint is going up on our hallway walls, with oodles of thanks to Pat Garcia and Nancy Meyer! But physical changes are not the only ones that are occurring in our congregation. We are steeped in change from newcomers who visit almost every Sunday to our new Faith Formation program structure for children and adults. The most important part of change is learning to take it gracefully.
Facing change gracefully is not easy for most people, but especially not in a growing community of faith when it feels like we are losing the opportunity to have a say in all the decisions. Our congregation functions much as our nation does: with a representational democracy. We elect our leaders and hope and pray that they will act as we would if we were in their shoes.
The difference is that when we complain about our elected officials in national politics, it is rare that they actually hear us griping. When we gripe at church it typically gets back to the individual responsible for certain decisions. Then what happens is the person feels hurt, unappreciated, frustrated and ultimately disempowered.
Part of the reason we elect officers, and leaders, and that we have a representational form of democracy is it is virtually impossible to get agreement on every action that needs to be taken in the life of a community. It is also next to impossible to get everyone together, even on Sundays when we have our largest attendance. Inevitably, some folks can't be there for one reason or another, all valid.
As the theologian Henri Nouwen once said “living in community means living with those whom we least want to be in community.” That is the nature of church. Even I as the minister—who loves everyone—does not always like everyone (as I say to my kids: I always love you, but I may not like you very much at the moment). We are a unique combination of human beings with different backgrounds, interests and opinions. Yet, together we make up an awesome and fascinating community.
I would like to encourage you all to set aside your egos and personal preferences to consider our goal is to act in the best interest of the community as a whole. This means trusting that our leaders hold before themselves an objective to do what will be in the best interest of the current community. If things were done differently in the past or that if they are done differently in the future, that is respected but not necessarily critical to a decision. The key is to do what is in the best interest of the community as a whole at this time. Times change, congregations change— leadership changes, too. Supporting our leadership in doing what they believe to be in the best interest of the congregation allows us all to move forward with more success.
May we all learn to set aside preferences in favor of the greater good!
See You in Church!