Leadership

“Our elders like to throw cold water on our suggestions.” “I wanted to train to become a preacher but the church leaders said it was a bad idea.” “For some reason our elders seem to enjoy throwing cold water on ideas from the pews.” Most of us have heard all our lives various usages of the idiom “Throwing cold water.” It related to discouragement or negativism about something; a disapproval or misgiving about a stated idea. There are several ways cold water may be thrown on a suggestion or idea: (1) mocking, (2) dishearten, (3) put down, (4) ridicule, (5) scorn, (6) weaken, (7) oppress, (8) upset, (9) torment, and (10) fearfulness. In all my years in church ministry I have observed 12 major buckets of cold water leaders throw on suggestions and ideas. Here they are:

  1. We tried that once and it didn’t work.
  2. We don’t have the money.
  3. It is not time yet.
  4. What will people think about this?
  5. What if we fail or fall on our face?
  6. Nobody will participate.
  7. It is not our tradition.
  8. We will look foolish if we don’t succeed.
  9. It costs too much.
  10. We’ll check it out and get back with you (but don’t).
  11. It is too demanding of our time.
  12. It is a waste of time and effort.

While it is true that church leaders can’t give thumbs up to every suggestion or idea they have presented to them; they can, however, give careful thought and prayer to them before throwing cold water on them. This is where open and honest communication becomes imperative in a congregation.

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