Read my classmate post. Think and write your thoughts and feelings about his post. (1 page)

                                                         Classmate’s Post 

Growth requires change, and people typically resist change. It may be hard, so some do not want to go to the effort. Some see change as beneficial, but only if they get to set the parameters. Others see change as unnecessary, believing that “we’ve done it this way for 50 years, it’s worked for us, and I don’t see any reason to change.” These impediments to progress—what Stovall calls “sacred cows”—can bring a congregational program crashing down around your ears if not carefully managed (2008, p. 388).

           When I read the “sacred cows” section of the textbook, I was reminded of the work I have done in resource rooms over the years. In my first resource room work, I was in a congregation that had had several teachers donate visual aids over the previous 30-ish years, but the visuals had been put in a room and forgotten. The decision was made to clean out the room, add custom shelving, and create a new visual aid library.

That first step attacked some sacred cows. The ladies who had donated those items did not want them “cleaned out” and I could certainly understand their feelings. They had “first given of themselves” in creating those visuals, and they had given the materials to bless other teachers. The problem was that those visuals were at least a generation old so the people did not look current, some were not even in color, and they were all wrinkled and crinkled from being piled in a room for years.

We had to work slowly and carefully getting this project off the ground. We asked around to find out who those ladies were, and then we talked to them one-on-one. First, we expressed gratitude for their generous participation in years past. We told them that the educational program was about to be revamped, and we were going to need space for the new materials for that program. We offered to give the materials they had made back to them, but they all declined, still wanting the church to have them. We went through all the materials, then, to retain anything of value, but the vast majority just needed a new home. That building had an unused balcony area that had become storage years before, so we boxed up the materials and stored them in that room, freeing up the space for the new visual aid library. We kept them—but we did not use them. Nor did we thumb our nose at the blessing those ladies intended for the church!

Sacred cows must be carefully dealt with – or not. Stovall suggests that “sometimes, the church—and you—are better off letting a sacred cow continue to graze until it dies a natural death” (2008, 389). One congregation had a table that was in the way of progress. The building was quite small already, and that table took up space that could be effectively used in a variety of ways. The problem was that that table had been built by “my grandfather who was a charter member of the congregation.” Leadership influence would have been disastrously wasted by insisting on reclaiming that space. In time, those members moved away, and the problem resolved itself.

As leaders, we need to be careful about our own sacred cows. Sometimes we build a program and expect it to continue forever. It is hard to think that someone might come along one day with a new plan, a plan that is more suited for the needs of the current congregation and better aligned with recognized objectives and goals. It can almost cause us to grieve that our beloved work is about to be no more. We need to remember, though, that growth requires change. It may be that our work through the years has been the catalyst for the growth that has created a new need. It may be that letting go of our sacred cow will allow someone else the room to grow into a role he could not have otherwise pursued.

    • 14 days ago
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