SPOILER ALERT: There are politics in the church, people. Ugly, hurtful, name-calling politics. Surprised? I knew you weren’t.
Since there are less people and circles of influence, multiple sides on an issue within the small church are more visible. Its harder to fly under the radar on a divisive subject when there are less places to hide.
Over the next few weeks, we’re going to discuss three mucky mud-puddles common to working in a small church. One definition of such political struggles? “When the opinions from a few begin to shout over the ‘let’s just roll with things’ voices of the majority.” Maybe if we think through these three major political traps, we can be ready for when they arise and avoid at least some of the pain, heartache, and missed youth ministry opportunities.
TODAY’S POLITICAL QUAGMIRE: “That One Family”
Does this uthmin story sound familiar? (A real story from a real youth worker) (and it isn’t me)
“I planned a great youth Christmas party. But here’s what happened instead:
- 1st problem: One key student couldn’t attend on that night AFTER the date have been chosen and all the invitations had been sent. No big deal, right?
- 2nd problem: That youth happened to be from THE family in the church. You know the one I mean: the one with 4 generations still attending the church. They’ve been members a looooong time.
- 3rd problem: That kid’s mom calls to demand the date be changed so her child could attend. ‘After all, we ARE pillars of the church (and big money givers to that nice new youth van).’
- 4th problem: When I explained I couldn’t change the date because arrangements have been set in motion at someone’s house…that one student planned their own Christmas thing for that same night (suddenly available!), inviting a number of students from the group. Only 3 people showed up to the scheduled youth group party, hurting the other host family. A war ensued between the two families and I (the youth leader) was stuck in the middle.”
WHAT TO DO?
You tell me. Post your comments/ideas/thoughts. We’re going to land on this church politics topic for a bit. Maybe together we’ll figure it out.
PS-the other two political pitfalls: “Fear of Change” and “Inward/Outward”