Lazy Choices Kill Congregations

“As I have defined it, love is the antithesis of laziness. Ordinary laziness is a passive failure to love.” M. Scott Peck

  • There’s the congregation that would rather settle for a low-energy, ineffective pastor rather than go through the process of calling a new leader.
  • There’s the Pastor Search Committee that would rather pick the organist’s cousin George who is “available right now” to be their Pastor rather than go through the process of finding a really good match for who they are and what they need for this moment in time.
  • There’s the Nominating Committee who picks the same people for the same roles over and over again whether those people are still the right ones for that position or not because it’s too much effort to discern who else might be called to serve who’s never served before.
  • There’s the Pastor who knows the congregation needs to re-boot and re-think their purpose, but he’s close to retirement and doesn’t want to stir the pot for his last years in professional ministry.
  • There’s the Personnel Committee who knows that they need a different kind of youth leader who knows how to make LGBTQ kids in the neighborhood feel welcomed, but they dread the pushback from the congregation, so they go for the “safe” candidate.

Long, long ago in a culture far, far away long – before Brene and Nadia, long before Oprah was Oprah – “everybody” read a book by M. Scott Peck called The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth. It’s worth checking that book out again.

Dr. Scott Peck pitched that our most common sin was laziness. Humans are simply lazy. We are too lazy to care about our neighbors, too lazy to do the work that will make the future better, too lazy to be who we were created to be. We just don’t want to make the effort.

I see this every day in The Church. [Note: I also witness great acts of service, breathtaking moments of generosity, and impressive feats of grappling with hard situations.] And I see lots of laziness.

Everybody’s tired. Yes.

And everybody wishes things could be different but we don’t want to do the work.

Signs of heaven:

  1. A Pastor Nominating Committee wrestles with who they are now and what their church and community need now and they not only do the work to call the right pastor; they are also willing to back up their/God’s choice when other folks complain that the new pastor is too young/old/white/black/female/queer. The truth is perhaps that the naysayers don’t even want to take the time to consider why this new pastor – who doesn’t look like what they expected – is clearly the person God chose.
  2. A Church strives to include voices not usually heard when discerning the next chapter of their contributions to the neighborhood.
  3. The Big White-Steepled Church on the Hill that’s doing just fine in terms of their mission goals and finances chooses to risk conflict by confronting their uncomfortable past which includes founders who were slaveholders and former pastors who were segregationists.
  4. The Church struggling to thrive in this culture makes the courageous choice to do what’s best for the community (rather than what feels safest for themselves) and allow their church property to become something new to serve the neighbors.

You’ve already read my Signs of Laziness.

Fortunately, I see more Signs of Heaven than Signs of Laziness – but there are too many signs of laziness out there and what The Lazy among us don’t realize is that lazy choices kill congregations.

Lazy choices kill congregations.

The easy way out. The easy hire. Don’t do it. Show me one time God ever took the easy way.

Love is the antithesis of laziness. Love does the work because it’s not about us. It’s about figuring out what God might want to do with us and our community to fulfill the best and highest Plan for this world.

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