How To Make Your Church Organization Appear Problem-Free

December 19, 2010 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

You’re acutely aware of problems in the church you’ve been leading for several years.  You’re basically a “nice guy.”  You do care about people.  But you also have been taught to defer to your mentor and others in his circle who trained you and brought you up within the organization, and you know that they want to give off the impression that your church’s problems are minimal and not worthy of their concern.

On top of that, you desire to maintain your reputation with your “young, restless, and Reformed” author-peers, who might – if they hear about your church’s issues and believe you’ve never done anything to address the problems – think less of you. 

You need to be able to make it look like you’re taking the problems seriously, even as you also need to make it seem like there ARE no problems. 

It’s actually quite a dilemma.

What to do?  Well, here is a clever strategy:

  1. Act like you’re listening to your members when they express concerns about people your church has hurt over the years.
  2. Give off the impression that most of this stuff is news to you.
  3. Meanwhile, continue your total support of the top brass of your organization.  Whenever situations arise that might reflect poorly upon your organization, continue to be included in conversations about how best to protect the organization no matter what it takes.  Continue to ultimately defer to your boss’s expressed preferences, even when your conscience – and common sense – tell you to do otherwise.
  4. Decide to make a public grand gesture by inviting members to a special meeting to discuss the issues.
  5. Portray a great deal of open-mindedness about the meeting; ask people for names of those they think you ought to invite.  Make it seem like the get-together is open to anyone.
  6. Ultimately, though, continue to exert total control over the guest list.
  7. Also – and this one is VERY important – limit the guests to “members in good standing,” which automatically means that those who attend this meeting will still be happy enough with your church organization that they continue to be involved and maintain the behaviors of which you and your coworkers approve.  (In other words, limit your guest list in such a way that automatically, those who might actually be truly unhappy with your church cannot attend…and those who DO attend will still be concerned enough about your opinion of them that they won’t say anything they think might earn them your disapproval.)
  8. Control the venue.  Make it personal – host the meeting at your home, which will add all sorts of layers to people’s feelings of awe and subservience to you, and will give you even more dominance over whatever discussion takes place.
  9. Stack the deck – invite lots of your coworkers, so that the ratio of “those with concerns” is equal to that of “those who toe the party line.”
  10. Choose a date for your meeting – perhaps the Friday of the last weekend before the Christmas holiday – that is typically filled with other commitments for most normal people.  Make it so that people have to choose between your (negative, potentially unhappy) meeting and more positive (jolly, happy) activities, like a festive family night out spent Christmas shopping or perhaps attending a neighborhood Christmas party.
  11. Know all the while that anyone who still cares enough about your organization to be a “member in good standing” also knows that expressing dissent is the quickest way to jeopardize that good standing.  

If you do all of these things, you will successfully have made it appear like not only are you concerned and open-minded, but also that the percentage of members who are unhappy with your church is a “small group of embittered people.”

Never mind, of course, that you’ve known all along that the truly unhappy people – those whom your church has hurt over the years – would never even make it onto your guest list. 

You can now point to this get-together and go, “We tried!  But so few showed up!”

© 2010 – 2011, Kris. All rights reserved.