The Value of Asking “Who Cares?”

One of today’s blogs entitled “Who Cares?” written by Seth Godin, features an analysis of the value of caring in the hotel/restaurant business.

It concludes, “Caring, it turns out, is a competitive advantage, and one that takes effort, not money.”

This is a topic that sorely needs to be discussed within the church. So many of us go to church and look upon stained glass depictions of Christ carrying a lamb and leading the sheep who look up at Him with expectant trust.

Are we seeing this modeled by today’s church leaders?

We suspect the most accurate answer lies in how carefully denominations carry the smallest lambs among them.

Some denominations value their small membership churches and assign special leadership to guide them. They explore solutions and ministry ideas. They provide pastoral care. With care comes hope. With hope comes energy. With energy comes ideas and ministry.

When a denomination cares, they take time to know people and draw from their passion — even if their work is not bringing thousands of dollars to the denomination’s coffers.

Other denominations (including our own) intentionally ignore small congregations for years. In some cases, they provide no help. Worse, they provide a caretaker pastor who drains the congregation’s resources with no intention of growing the church. Every decision they make is predicated on their faith in failure. Soon the small church is seen only as a piece of property with (if they are lucky) an endowment fund to go with it. The people of the church become obstacles that must be removed by any means.

2×2 grew out of the latter leadership style. We have experienced the answer to the question “Who cares?” In our case, the answer has been: very few.

Asking this question can measure a denomination’s strength. Let’s start at the grass roots.

  • Do the people in the congregation care enough to resist being treated badly? Do they insist on being treated like children of God? Will they allow themselves to be ignored? Do they allow the Christian presence in their neighborhoods to evaporate by decree? What will they risk for their church?
  • Do the pastors care enough to find a way to speak up? If pressured, will they abandon the congregations they once felt “called to serve”? Will they vote with the pack and keep their personal feelings to themselves?
  • Do elected representatives of denominations care enough to take a fair look at ministry potential and to explore solutions? Will they demand that leadership demonstrate love and compassion? Will they allow denominational leaders to degrade individual members of a congregation? Will they lamely support the caching of congregational assets and exertion of power?
  • Do members of the denomination ask questions and insist on good behavior from their leaders, or do they accept explanations that don’t make sense, happy to not have the spotlight on their problems?
  • Do the national church leaders care enough to insist upon fair treatment of all congregations? Do they treat regional leaders as more trusted and valuable than the people they are pledged to serve?

Successful ministry relies on denominations who care. “Care” is a verb. It requires action.

Look for leaders who care.