Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Unwritten Rule 1 - "No" is a Bad Word

There are many unwritten rules that the wise pastor observes. Let's write about them.

Unwritten Rule Number 1 - No is a Bad Word

In the course of your time as a pastor you will be asked by people if they can go and do something in or for the Church. This desire to help is a *good* thing. It always is a good thing -- tell yourself, when people want to do something, it is a good thing.

Is it always directed in a good and proper way? Not necessarily. So, what do you do when So-and-so wants to do X, where X is off or inappropriate?

You do not just say no. You don't try to stop that energy to act - but you deflect it and move it towards something better.

Why is this?

1. Wanting to do stuff is good -- so give a person something good to do. Use that energy -- because there will be plenty enough time where you'd wish someone would step up and do something... and no one is there.
2. It makes you seem like a nice, creative guy. You listen, you value their efforts, and you work with them to come up with a neat idea. And you know what - this should be the reality as well -- work with people to improve their ideas. Guide and shape.
3. You can't stop energy... and if you say no, that energy is going to go somewhere. Probably into telling everyone what a big jerk you are.

So, let's have an example:

Member: Pastor, I have a spiritual gift for Origami. Could I decorate the altar with Doves this Sunday?

Pastor: Hmmm, a talent for Origami you say? [note: look thoughtful and encourage the person to repeat themselves - it will give you time to think. Looking thoughtful often provides you time to think]

Member: Oh yes, it's something I've loved since I was a little kid.

Pastor Option 1: Really? Well, you know, I don't know if we need them on the altar, but that sounds like it could be a fantastic craft for VBS/Sunday School - why don't you go see if you could help that way. Do you know any Cross shapes, perhaps? Or even a stable?

Pastor Option 2: Really? Well, you know, I do know that it would be really nice to have decorations for our next congregational dinner - do you think you could get some nice table decorations done - that would be lovely.

Pastor Option 3: You know, if they are up on the altar, no one is going to be able to see them well, except me. Tell you what - if you are willing to do the work, and I know it's a lot, about about we set this up for next [Pentecost / Mother's Day] -- we can give a little dove to [the kids/ the moms/ everyone]. I might even be able to find a nice Scripture verse -- we could perhaps fit the verse on a little piece of paper from the Spirit's mouth, because the Spirit always points to the Word....

See, energy used! Something to be excited about! New projects put to use. Thinking about something than the specific thing wanted. Thinking about something other than what a meanie you are.

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