Monday, April 18, 2005

Confronting Unmet Expectations

Today I'm hearing a lot of discussion about unmet expectations.

Youth ministers expect parents to support the guidelines for participation in youth groups and expect the teens to respect and abide by them. Church members expect all programs to be provided for them by the staff and are disappointed when told that they need to assume responsibility for some of them. Staff members propose new ideas for mission and ministry and are disappointed when those ideas are brushed aside. Small and medium size church members are frustrated that the resources of their congregation will not support some of the opportunities for worship, fellowship, education and mission that can be had at large or super-size churches.

The gap between the ideal and the real world in which we live is rubbing particularly hard on several folks around me today. Because they believe the work of the church is important, they are frustrated when they think others do not share their view.

Unmet expectations can frustrate church workers just as much as unmet goals can frustrate corporate workers. They are usually an indication of unrealistic assumptions or flawed projections. And that is what makes them so difficult: our own sins and mistakes are probably just as much to blame as the actions or inactions of others.

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