Confessions of a pastor #4 – We, You, Me
At times, it can be annoying when members of our congregation approach me and tell me things that we ought to be doing. Not because I’m narrow minded, or controlling. Not because I don’t appreciate suggestions and feedback. That’s not the case at all. In fact, there are a lot of things we do because others have brought it up. That’s how a church should work- everybody contributing, everybody has a voice and a vote. I am in no way under the illusion that I’m the sole possessor of good ideas.
But, the times that it drives me crazy is when people say “we”, but mean “you” or “they.”
“You know what we should do?” (You know what you should do?)
“I think we need to look into…” (I think somebody needs to look into…)
“I wish we had a…” (I wish someone would get us a…)
They’re saying there’s a need or desire they have, and they want somebody to take care of it. Somebody else.
So, my new M.O. is to respond to those suggestions by saying, “That’s a great idea. Would you be willing to look into that for us? Thanks so much!” In fact, it’s become sort of a running joke at our church’s business meetings- “Be careful about having good ideas; you’ll end up with an assignment.”
But you know what? It’s working. People are getting involved. The congregation is taking care of business. And, if I read the Bible correctly, that’s sort of the point.
It’s not the pastor’s job to do everything. (Something our church secretary has to remind me of every week.) It’s not his responsibility to oversee every detail, research every possibility, solve every problem, take every call, attend every event, etc. That’s why we are called the body. There’s a lot of us, and everyone has to contribute in order for this thing to work.
From Ephesians 4:
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.
If you attend a church, be willing to do your part there. Don’t approach the staff with an idea unless you’re also willing to help make it a reality. Don’t drop an anonymous card in the suggestion box. Put your name, number, and email address on there, then have a proposed game plan ready when they call.
If you’re going to say “we”, mean it.