Sometimes kids can be tricky. Sometimes, the church can be tricky. If you’re a church leader and a parent, you can definitely relate to what parenting can teach you about leading in the church.
Be prepared for messes
Occasionally, a baby will have an “exploding diaper.” For those parents lucky enough never to have seen this, basically it is what it sounds like. There’s enough poop in a small enough space to send it straight up the baby’s back. It takes an impressive amount of time to clean up, and it always happens rapidly and at the worst time. In church life, often people can “explode their diaper.” Basically, well-meaning people can create a small disaster that needs fixing immediately. These tend to happen at the worst possible times, and they can take a while to clean up. Somebody may have said something insensitive, someone may have let a baby get out of the nursery, someone in leadership may have done something wrong, and the list goes on and on. If you’re in church leadership, be ready to clean up the poop from time to time.
Sometimes, people need a while
On the back of our baby food containers, they inform us to not give up. They say that babies can take up to 10 feedings to like something new. They have obviously never sat down and tried to force feed a baby or they would word it a little more strongly, but that’s beside the point. Church leaders need to be ready to be persistent.
First, it doesn’t matter if not everyone likes something. You can’t do anything and expect everyone to like it, and that’s OK. However, there will be people that don’t like it at first, but they will understand it eventually. If you know you’re doing what God wants you to do, be persistent. Eventually, more people will get on board and get excited about what is going on.
Be prepared for some confusing fits
I’ve seen some awesome jokes about why toddlers throw fits. It’s incredible what sets kids and babies off. It’s also kind of confusing to see what sets church people off. You just never know what button is the hot one. I’ve seen some pretty off-the-wall ones. I’ve seen ones about the translation of the Bible, the color of the carpet, placement of a coat rack, use of hymnals, length of sermon, clothes, and light switches. Not just lights, actual placement of light switches. I’m sure plenty of you can relate. But, just like a baby, people will pitch fits about just about anything. Just like at home, someone pitching a bad enough fit probably needs to be ignored or disciplined. Giving in just because they throw a fit only makes it worse next time. Ironically, when it comes to people, some squeaky wheels get squeakier when they get grease.
It is important to note, however, that as Christians and as leaders, we need to be loving towards people, even when it’s tough. Again, this doesn’t mean giving in just because there’s a fit, but often it means better communication about why something is being done.