Monday, September 26, 2005

A New Stragegy for Ministry: Making People Mad

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!

Smile,
Andy B.

8 comments:

Jennifer Carney said...

Personally, I think that the only way to get people involved or into something is by getting them a little mad so they have a reason to get into it. Then they can put their hearts into what they're creating and begin to love it.

with love,
Jenn

Seamhead said...

What's wrong with garage sale curtains? There's some kind of inherent bias right in that statement.

What if your church did have to buy stuff from garage sales? Some people have to do that. My wife really likes doing it. I'm sure whatever curtains we have came from a garage sale.

BAck on point: It's good to make them made if they anger is used constructively and not destructively. Some people have a little trouble with that.

Anonymous said...

Our curtains did not come from a garage sale. They came from E-Bay.

People do get hung up on the weirdest things, though. I could understand if you had hung up curtains with a Royals theme; that would be shocking. At least it shows she was paying attention to her surroundings. And the remark she made and the response given back to her may nudge her to pay attention a little more attention to herself and her priorities in the future.

We miss you guys.

Shelly :)!

Anonymous said...

Our curtains did not come from a garage sale. They came from E-Bay.

People do get hung up on the weirdest things, though. I could understand if you had hung up curtains with a Royals theme; that would be shocking. At least it shows she was paying attention to her surroundings. And the remark she made and the response given back to her may nudge her to pay a little more attention to herself and her priorities in the future.

We miss you guys.

Shelly :)!

Joe Tiedemann said...

What a great week for Matthew 21:23-32. Isn't passive-aggression great (dripping with sarcasm). It is a real issue for pastors' (me included) leadership ability to know how and when to address different things in order to help one another achieve a new level of faith - individually and as one church. I am trying to work systemically for a healthier congregation and at times I need a lot of patience and focus on being persistent. It is hard! Thanks for your blog. I'll be praying for you and your congregation.

DogBlogger said...

Okay, am I the only one who DESPERATELY wants to see photos of Andy's handiwork? Come on, bring it! Show, show, show!

Dave Wood said...

I didn't think the banners were bad. They certainly got my attention. I disagree a little with Jennifer that making people mad is the "only" way to get their attention but you're both right that it can serve to get them involved. Seamhead said it right...as long as the anger is used constructively. I'm reminded of a line in one of my favorite movies that says..."A little revolution now and then can be a healthy thing". Anyone who knows you Andy knows you would not incite folks to anger on purpose. You just incite folks, period. P.S. - I didn't know you could sew. Dave Wood

John said...

If making people mad is the measure of ministerial success, then I have a bright future ahead of me!