A few weeks ago, I was presented with an idea for our church that seemed like a good idea. I was excited about the possibility, and I told some people about it.
Now, those of you who are members at Augusta Heights know this story. But stick with it, because I’m going to give you the rest of the story.
Some people in the church got the impression that I was trying to “force” this idea on them. I wasn’t, but that’s how it came across. I quickly backed off for two reasons.
The first reason was that perception is the greatest form of reality. My intentions really did not matter if the perception became the prevailing opinion. The second reason was that two very trustworthy and forthright people came to talk to me about the issue and the perceptions that existed.
One of these was a lady in our church. She still apologizes for saying something to me about that, and some other issues!
Why? I keep telling her that there is no need to apologize. In fact, I am honored that she respects me enough to come to me with the issue, and is willing to speak to it directly rather than talking to everyone else about it. I learned some lessons through this, all because this lady was willing to step up and speak up.
And now, the rest of the story…
I was humbled, but a little peeved that I was not getting my way. I did not see a problem with at least considering the proposal.
Again, big mistake.
I am always willing to listen to new ideas and think about new concepts, even if the ultimate decision is not to do it. But if we had proceeded with this proposal, it would have caused big problems. Maybe HUGE problems, and it would have nothing to do with the membership at Augusta Heights. They saw the potential issues, and they were right.
I have since learned that this could have made a huge mess. I don’t know that everyone’s heart and head was in the right place when we decided not to do it. But I am CONVINCED that these motives, no matter how ill-conceived, kept us from going in a direction that God did not want for us.
Here’s the thing: We often get mad when we don’t get our way. We often ridicule the ignorance of people who don’t want to be forward-thinking and move out on the “cutting edge” of what churches need to do.
Sometimes, we even insult those who don’t want to try new ideas as backwards and un-spiritual.
But sometimes, those people are right.
My mistake was assuming that what I saw as a good idea was a Godly idea. It sounded good in theory, but we probably would have looked back and said, “You know, this sounded a lot better than it is.” But because some people were willing to speak their hearts, we didn’t do it.
Thank God that we don’t always get our way. And thank God for good people who are willing to speak up to keep us from getting it.