Ch Ch Ch Changes
I read a post yesterday on Locust and Honey. John is wondering why, in his church, the United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men groups seem to appeal only to those women and men (respectively) who are over the age of 45 to 50, even though his church has younger members.
In our church, I feel as if that statement could be made about the UMW, but not our UMM. What is the difference? I feel that the UMW program in our church appeals to older women because the group structure has not adapted to the changing lifestyles of younger women (and for a few years, I’ll still be in that under 45 age group). A few years ago, I was graciously invited to a circle meeting by two or three different women. I couldn’t go then, but I think even that circle has begun meeting during the day. That works for women who work at home, or who are retired, but not for me (and the many women like me, who work outside the home).
I want to expand the question. Why is it that programs within the church fail to adapt to change. This could apply to many church programs, not (by far) only to the UMW.
- Could it be that those who coordinate a program, or are part of a program, are not completely honest with themselves? I’m listening to a book on CD called Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Galbodon. The husband and wife pair (main characters) have the following discussion:
“You promised me honesty,” I (Clara) said, “but are you quite sure you’re being honest with yourself? You weren’t baiting Tom Christe just because he challenges you?”Do we fool ourselves into thinking a program is successful?
He stopped, his eyes clear and unguarded a few inches from mine. He lifted a hand and cupped the side of my face, his palm warm on my skin. “There are only two people in this world to whom I would never lie, Sassenach.” He said softly, “You’re one of them, and I’m the other.” He kissed me gently on the forehead then leaned past me and blew out the lamp. “Mind,” his voice came from the darkness, and I saw his tall form silhouetted against the faint oblong of light from the doorway as he straightened up, “I could be fooled, but I wouldn’t be doing it on purpose.”
- If a program is meeting the needs of a group a people, how do we walk the line between rejuvenating it so that it can meet the needs of more people while at the same time allowing the program to continue to meet the needs of those who are already a part of it?
- Do coordinators sometimes fail to continually rejuvenate a program because they don’t know how? Perhaps they don’t have the skills or gifts necessary to continually reshape what they already know into something that they don’t yet understand.
- Are we sometimes afraid to take the risk? Tradition is sometimes comforting, and change is often frightening.
- Does there come a time when we have failed so often that we really believe that what we have is the best that can be done?
Is it possible that sometimes the only way for something to be reborn is for it first to die? Is it sometimes so difficult to change that we must wait for eventual death in order for resurrection?
Image: A building across from Pullman Square that is obviously undergoing Restoration -- and has a sign to prove it just in case you can't tell.