One of Ronald Heiftetz’s principles of leadership in his book Leadership Without Easy Answers is to direct attention to ripening issues over distractions. These are issues that can make our break an organization or industry and must be identified and addressed in order to adapt with what is coming down the pipe. To ignore them can be fatal. I have been thinking about this in connection with the Gulfcoast Getaway 2008 as it relates to the future of Churches of Christ. I laid out five things that were brought up repeatedly at the Getaway and they included:
1 – Dissatisfaction among college age students with the worship at local congregations.
2 – Pornography addiction
3 – Instrumental music
4 – a la carte Christianity
5 – An alienated older generation of church goers as the young people start taking leadership positions
In many ways this list is a pretty good reflection of the ripening issues that we are facing and that if ignored or not handled properly will have some disastrous results. We cannot ignore these things. We cannot think they will just go away. If we want to be respectful to our young people we have to begin addressing these things publicly. Doing so will show a good faith effort to our young people that we hear them, love them, and are willing to work with them. It will also give them a healthy example of how Christian leaders really lead. If there is one thing a young person can smell out it is a leader who doesn’t care to lead.
What will keep us from addressing these things? Being uncomfortable, fear, thinking we have too many other important things to do to get to those things, arrogance, to name a few. I am going to finish out posts on the other three items and enter into a dialogue here of how to best address these things as a church.