I personally think a sign of a good book, article or post is when it gets you worked up, inspired, agitated or just plain mad. There was one such article this morning on CatalystSpace. It was written by Tim Schraeder (a friend from Chicago). You can read the original article here. Tim started the article saying he's worked for 4 different churches over the past 10 years. Then he lists 10 things that drive him crazy about working for a church. I've worked for one church for 15 years, so I thought I'd add some perspective with my thoughts about his list:
- We are really good at burning people out - Not in my experience. I work at a place where we are encouraging each other to take vacation, go home to your family, leave that task for another day. Yes, I've seen people burn out, but because of their personal choices.
- We focus way too much on what we don't have - I agree, but I think it comes from a good place. We have this God-sized vision of what we know is possible for our community--so it's easy to wish for more so we could have a greater impact. We have to keep this in check and be grateful for what God has given us.
- We are afraid of change - Probably true in many churches. At Granger, people who don't like change leave after a couple years because they get change-fatigue. Those who love change get antsy when we aren't changing quickly enough.
- We use "let me pray about it" as an excuse to get out of making decisions - never done this and never experienced this from someone else.
- We LOVE meetings - I don't love meetings, but I do see them as a way to love on people, connect relationally, shift culture, recast vision, set priorities, gauge progress and more. Poorly run meetings are no fun. So if your day is filled with those--stop going.
- We try to do way too much - Agreed.
- We try to be something we're not - I think it takes awhile for a young church to figure out what they are--and what they are not. Until then, it's all about experimentation, and I applaud that.
- We spend too much time looking at other churches - Disagree. I absolutely LOVE learning what other churches are doing to uniquely accomplish their mission in their community. I think most churches get stuck staring at their navel and spend way too little time considering different ways of ministry. I'm down on competition. Down on comparisons. Up on learning!
- We worry about people leaving -We've never been accused of that, but have many times heard the opposite: "You spend too much time figuring out how to serve the people coming in the front door and not enough time looking at why they are going out the back door."
- We don't feel trusted - That is a hiring problem. Hire the wrong people and you will never trust them. You will establish a long list of policies and rules to try to keep them operating in the lines. Every time someone steps out, you make another rule. I have a better idea. Let's work with people we trust and get rid of all the rules. That's the world I choose to live in.
I'd love to hear your thoughts about Schraeders original list--or my response.