Image by GlacierTim via Flickr
Originally written for Shepherd of the Ridge Lutheran Church, apply these ideas to your local context.
In our marriage, we have a rule: We present unity in public. If I have a complaint about my wife or vice versa, we discuss that with each other, but we don’t share those complaints publicly. Why? Because we never want to suggest to others that we’re unhappy in our marriage and want out. Since I work with all kinds of people from different backgrounds and often in emotionally vulnerable situations, we want our marriage’s message to the world to say, “We’re united and not looking for something else.” But if we never discussed our differences with each other, we’d both be frustrated.
Andy Stanley, church leadership guru, said recently, “Be a raving fan publicly but an honest critic privately.” Jesus said something similar (Matthew 18:15-17). It’s through criticism that we grow and improve. If something needs doing and isn’t being done, then those responsible need to know, since they probably don’t or might appreciate a reminder.
If you would like to suggest how we could improve, we’re always open to new ideas, and we welcome all ideas. And no idea is a bad idea. We may not be able to use it, or we may need to wait with it or change it, but any idea is welcome, even if it’s drastically different from what we’re used to. It may spark a completely different creative thought along the way!
I do have two requests along this line, though.
- No anonymous requests. If it’s your idea or concern, take the credit. We may need to check back with you for clarification.
- Go to the source. If you have a concern or idea related to the property, talk to the Trustees. If you have thoughts about the youth, talk to the youth leaders. If I say something that gets your hackles up, come talk to me. I promise not to throw a Bible at you and will take your thoughts to heart.
But in public, be a raving fan. Find the things here that excite you, and talk about them. If a sermon or service touches your heart, tell your friends about it. Talk about it at work or during your haircut. Send them a link to the audio if you’re online, or “share” it on Facebook. Invite a friend to an event that you’re looking forward to. Come up with a new idea how to share your excitement. The Gospel is too important to let personal egos or pet projects get in the way of saving souls.
We have eternal life given as a free gift! How cool is that?!