Saturday, July 23, 2016
Innovators are Not Welcome
There was a young man from UC
Who wanted to help Christian kids see
That the Bible was real
And they could really feel free
Cause Jesus had given the key
And the Spirit had set them all free!
As I stumbled along naively and offered the college kids in our church an open place to read the Bible, pray and hear God for themselves. I ran into a wall of resistance.
Why would anyone resist the invitation of a young couple to meet in homes to study scripture? I could not fathom why any parent or leader could resist, especially when every conversation among the parents of teens included fears of sex, rock and roll and rebellion.
I mistakenly assumed that having two adults with deep Christian roots and advanced educational degrees and experiences would be eagerly welcomed into the arena of influencing youth.
Was I ever wrong!
Did you see the key word in the above paragraph? ASSUMED! That is one of the most dangerous words in the English language.
I did not ask the leaders what they thought of my ideas. I ignorantly ASSUMED that my ideas were good, even great! That led me to ASSUME I did not need to discuss it in length with them.
I was arrogant. Leaders want to be asked for permission to alter the church process, especially if it is a well known program that they will be forced to defend.
Leaders want people to show them deference and be humble. I am not either by personality or by preference. My personality is "Often wrong but never in doubt".
I needed feedback on my plans. The plan included youth and meeting in homes. Both have implications for parents and kids. I did not appreciate those complications. We had one tiny baby but no real parenting experience. Thus, my ideas did need the input of others.
I needed to listen respectfully the leaders and parents. Because I ASSUMED I already had a great idea I was not sensitive to the feelings and insights of others. By moving rapidly to implement my "brilliant" I rather callously ran over the people who were responsible for the church and kids. Listening with Respect and understanding goes a long ways toward accomplishing my goals.
The way I did it, brought resistance and failure. I failed to innovate because of my lack of wisdom and understanding. However, it did teach me to learn how to bring big changes in an organization more effectively!
But, be patient. God is not finished with me yet.
Do you want to influence others to change? See some of the things I had to learn the hard way in our materials and videos here.