Transformation P.S.

One additional thought on the transformation stuff. This is not original, nor is it new, but I think it's worth repeating. I said it earlier and people echoed it in comments: people resist change in the church, to the point that they will sometimes threaten to leave, and/or they will predict a mass exodus from the church, if XYZ takes place.

If we’re really serious about doing ministry in a new way---if the survival of the church in the 21st century depends on it---and if we trust that we’re going in a faithful direction, we have to accept that some will not want to go along. People will lash out, often motivated by fear, anxiety, or a perceived loss of power. And when they threaten to take their ball and go home, we (that is, the pastor and the other leadership) have to be willing to say, like Westley from The Princess Bride: “As you wish.”

The interesting thing about “As you wish” is, it’s a euphemism in the movie. When Westley says, “As you wish” to Buttercup, what he really means is, “I love you.”

We can’t be held hostage by people who are resistant to change. But we can bless them on their journey, if their path must diverge from ours. As you wish. I love you. I see that you don’t want to go where we’re going, and I want you to be free to find the place where you feel that you belong.

I am fortunate that I've only received the "I'm leaving" once in my pastoral career (I guess there's one advantage to being an associate pastor for so long---people usually take their ultimatum 'to the top"!) I said very calmly (on the outside, cough), "Please know that I will NOT try to talk you out of that. So be very sure of yourself before you make that statement. You need to do what you need to do, and I will be sorry to see you go."

They didn't leave.

As you wish.

Easier. Said. Than. Done.

Image: "As you wish" is probably a more helpful statement to make than the one above. But that would be fun...