OK, here's the thing:
I have said and done more than a few things that people don't like too much. The most recent event: I changed the banners in the sanctuary last week on my own because I was tired of asking people to do it and then it not getting done. I guess that made some people mad. In fact, just before worship last Sunday morning, someone asked me, "Who put those horrible banners up in the sanctuary? They look like garage sale curtains." The look on her face when I smiled and informed her that the banners were my own artistic endeavor was, shall we say, priceless.
So, I am accustomed to the feeling of having people upset with me. Not that I go out of my way to make people angry, but I tend to speak from my heart and act impulsively, without allowing a lot of that silly "thinking" to get in the way. Better to ask forgiveness than permission, and all that jazz.
Here is the interesting thing, though. More than one person has told me recently, "If you aren't making a few people mad, you are doing something wrong" or some variation thereof. I've been thinking about that sentiment and what it means for ministy. I'm pretty sure some people mean it as a "Comfort the afflicted / Afflict the comfortable" kind of thing. Part of the pastor's job is to shake up the complacency of the elite and re-invigorate congregations trapped in their own lethargic inertia.
But there is another sense of it. If I am making a few people mad, that means I am actually doing SOMETHING. There is activity, energy is flowing, people are engaged. It is my desire as a pastor to equip people to engage in the life of the congregation, even if that means making them angry about something going on. Hey, at least they are paying attention!
So, perhaps the new banners that I spent thirty-one dollars and most of my Thursday afternoon creating will spark those angry people to start up a banner team for our worship services. Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants! I kind of like them, myself. I was going for the "garage sale curtain" look, and apparently I succeeded!