Monday, June 19, 2006

Fight or Flight?

If you’ve read this blog for a while you know I’m a worship leader. In a "happy with the status quo" "family-reunion" type-of church that I grew up in, love, am not afraid to be disillusioned with, and a church that is trying to work it’s way out of a hole we’ve dug.

Believe me, I’ve thought about leaving my church. Anyone who is passionately devoted to Christ and works/volunteers in a church most likely has. I’ve thought about leaving lots and lots of times. Why don’t I? Why should I? I can fill notebooks and notebooks with reasons for both.

About a year ago it felt like do or die time. I was trying to push something forward and to me, it was D-day. Either we go forward or I leave. I never threatened anyone with that, but the thoughts were in my head. I would never issue an ultimatum like that. It’s just not in me. When a tiny glimmer of hope appeared - that we as a church could go forward with the blessing of church leadership (minus a pastor) I stayed and I fought. But some didn’t. Some left and if affected me in a way I truly didn’t expect. I actually got angry. And I don’t get angry.

I’m fairly flexible, (I admit I like things done a certain way.) But it takes a lot to anger me. There was only one other time I got angry at someone from our church and that’s just because their display of selfishness was so grand I couldn’t take it anymore. But when certain people choose to leave the church, that’s not ultimately what I was angry at. I was angry at their lack of determination.

There are many valid reasons for leaving a church, just as there are invalid reasons. In one case, the reason a person left our church was (he said) because we didn’t have vision, which is a good and solid reason to leave. But I believe it’s just as good a reason to stay.

I had a vision; so did the other members of church leadership. (And actually, so did the person who left. It was the same as ours.) We failed to communicate it well to the church body, which lead to a poor (and little to no) execution. But we didn't give up. We brushed ourselves off and tried again. I stuck it out - not just because God wanted me to, but because I believed God would use me to change things. I stayed to fight for what God’s plan was for our church. I stayed because I didn’t want to be a quitter.

Yes, that was harder to do than leaving. Leaving’s easy. Leaving means you get to find the church you want, the church that does the kinds of thing you enjoy, the church that makes you happy. Notice how many times the word “you” was written in the last paragraph.

Is it fight or flight reflex in some people? Maybe I’m just hard-wired to fight and others are wired to flee. But here’s what I asked myself: how can you affect change without staying and trying to make that change? Especially when the lack of desired change is the reason you want to leave?

The answer is: You can’t.

We shouldn’t be afraid of change, but we are. That why it’s tough and takes a while. I guess I’d rather say that I tired and failed than to say I never even tried in the first place.

What I'm listening to:
Butterfly Boucher's Flutterby

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