Discomfort at church: good or bad?by Kevin Butler
By Bill Wilson via the Associated Baptist Press
(ABP) -- Here at the Center for Congregational Health, we spend many hours each week helping clergy and congregations navigate the tricky waters of expectations and living together in positive and encouraging relationships rather than confrontational ones. I’ve recently had three insights that bear repeating.
First, my colleague, Nelson Granade, introduced me to a novel title for a minister: The Concierge Pastor. In a superb article that first appeared on Duke Divinity School’s Faith and Leadership website titled “Congregational Concierge”, Nelson decries the tendency of clergy and congregations alike to establish a pattern of relationship whereby the minister and staff members are primarily expected to meet the needs and expectations of members of the congregation. Like a fine hotel’s concierge, the ministers are there to make church members comfortable and happy. Nelson accurately notes that clergy are often complicit in this un-biblical model, and that everyone loses in the end. Extravagant expectations are never fully met, clergy grow discouraged, and the Kingdom agenda is relegated to an afterthought. I have to admit: that has described me on occasion!
[Wilson shares the other two incidents, then concludes]:
God’s people, the church, will only be able to flesh out our Kingdom agenda ("Thy Kingdom come here on earth as it is in heaven...") when we accept the fact that our task necessitates each of us agreeing that we are not all that God intends us to be. What if discomfort is a necessary prerequisite to finding genuine meaning and purpose? When we understand that truth, and join with other believers to discover the joy of costly discipleship and follow-ship, then clergy and laity alike will find the harmony we seek in the midst of meeting challenges, and the discomfort they bring.
To read the entire article, click here.
Bill Wilson is president of the Center for Congregational Health in Winston-Salem, N.C.