Congregational Lessons from Disneyland

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We are at Disneyland today and as usual the experience has been exceptionally good. 99 times out of 100 Disney knows how to give people a memorable experience…answering your questions before you ask them, putting finishing touches on everything imaginable and paying attention to details you will probably never notice.

Churches need to pay attention to details and need to be exceptional in our ministries. Details and communication are vitally important to what we do. People can tell when we don’t care or haven’t taken time for the details. It tells people it doesn’t matter if we say faith or church are the most important things to us if the reality is, things are constantly in chaos and disarray.

We had one negative experience with Disney today…probably the only one I can remember. We were in line for a ride that our youngest was right at the height cutoff for. He might squeak by and get in or might get the boot. The problem was you didn’t know there was a height requirement until you waited an hour in line. After walking through an endless line, they measured him and they said he was close but that they didn’t get the final say. They passed him along…more lines, more waiting…more measuring. After getting past multiple people with rulers and multiple waits we made it to get on the ride. That’s when the guy who had the “final say” stopped us and measured him and gave our 3 year old the boot.

That process is problematic. You don’t measure 3 times and delay the inevitable. False hope only builds aggravation. Have the guts to put the guy with the final word at the front of the line, not the back and save us all the wait and frustration. It seems to me no one wanted to say no until they had to. It is an unhelpful and, IMO, disrespectful way to work with people.

All that to say, sometimes in ministry we don’t like to say no, even when we know it will inevitably come down to that conclusion. False hope and broken promises do more damage than a straight forward no on the front end. Be respectful and have the guts to put the front line decision makers on the front line. People will appreciate you more for that than for dragging out the inevitable disappointment.

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