I live in a world that is changing continuously. I am doing so as well. I like the saying “change is mandatory; transformation is optional.” All of my frustrations come from things changing (going downhill) or not changing. How do you create change for the better?
Talking to my god sister this past Sunday, she said that the church now had a basket next to the pile of bulletins labelled “suggested donation: $1”. To me this is a sure sign of a dying church. I have never heard of expecting a dollar for a bulletin. They have crossed a line. They are circling the drain. Any church that cannot even give away a bulletin without the social pressure for financial remuneration is not long for this world. I laugh at the absurdity of the situation and grieve that nobody had the common sense or the cojones to stand up and say, “This is inappropriate and shameful for a church. It is simply too embarrassing to be part of this congregation any longer.” However, those with the ability to stand up for themselves (those with a shred of self-respect) were driven away by the priest years ago, myself included. A milquetoast congregation is DOA. I doubt they last another five years. My god sister was livid. “What are they going to do next? Charge us for using the bathroom?” I said, “Don’t be shocked if they do.”
My question in life is how to help individuals and businesses to change for the better, even as I and they change continuously. I feel like the world is slippery. I can have a goal and then life can completely obliterate it.
I feel like an entirely new world is being born. How do I midwife this new world? What role can I play? How hard should people try to save organizations intent on preserving a worthless status quo? Young people are walking away from churches in record numbers, for the reasons I have been whining about for years. The difference between them and myself is that I have wasted so many years of my life trying to get comfortable people to listen to me, whereas the young don’t even bother. They are so much smarter than I ever was.
What makes me different than today’s young people is that I am in between them and my parents age-wise. I see where the older folks are coming from. I feel a little sad not to have seen the world they still live in in their minds. It sounds like a slower, saner world. I also see where the younger people are coming from. Older people want younger ones to “pay their dues” in order to receive such essentials as vacations and flex-time. Such a demand strikes the younger generation as ridiculous because younger people do not see themselves as ever collecting Social Security. They either get these “goodies” now or take their knowledge, skills, and abilities where others will appreciate them. End of discussion. I have spent far too long trying to get the elderly to “understand” when they cannot relate at all. Still, I feel like being the in-between generation gives me a perspective others lack.
I believe in questions. They get the mind going in new directions. Some important questions include:
- Do you feel the leadership here practices what they preach?
- Is there anyone here that you admire or would like to be more like?
- What could I do to help you become more of the person you want to be?
These questions could apply to any organization, not just churches. They cut to the heart. They clarify what the person wants and helps the individual see where the answers are and aren’t. The responses could be a wake-up call to those with ears to hear.
I want things to change for the positive, as opposed to watching places just die off while blaming everyone else for their failures. Places will change, either for the better or not. I’d like to be a catalyst for positive change. However, I have no interest in defending a status quo that serves the few at the financial and emotional expense of the many. I will not defend poisonous places. I want something better and more meaningful for my life, even if I have to invent it myself.