where leaders shouldn't tread
disclaimer: i recognize that the following is strictly my perspective and is very possibly biased, but it is none-the-less my perspective. also, this may be the first and last time that i refer to the warden as "my wife" on this blog. it's just easier.
recently there has been a situation that my wife has been involved in with the women's ministry leaders at our church. i have kept my mouth shut and avoided getting involved in the discussion. however, the final decision has been made by leadership and accepted by my wife. now i will express myself because i don't believe in bottling things up.
this whole thing has kind of pissed me off. the situation is that for several months my wife has been compiling a newsletter for the women in the church. she began doing so approximately a year-and-a-half ago. the reason she started was that she felt moved by God to communicate to fellow women how God views them and the value they hold in His eyes. she has had very positive and heartfelt feedback from those who have read the newsletter who indicated that it's been very encouraging to them.
however, the recent situation has been that she was about to put out the spring/easter edition of the newsletter and, since it is intended for the women in the church, asked those in charge of leading our church women's ministry if they wanted to add anything. well, that's when things exploded.
my wife was informed that the leaders of women's ministry wanted her to wait until may to put out the newsletter because that was when they hoped to have a committee put together to help and have more varied input into women's ministry. once the committee is put together, they will look over the newsletter together and discuss any ideas for things that should be added. once the newsletter is approved by the committee, it can be distributed.
however, since my wife has had only positive input on the newsletter in the past and women have found it so encouraging and uplifting, my wife didn't see a need to wait for a committee to approve this edition. also, since there is easter content in the newsletter publishing it in may would mean that the easter content would no longer be timely and should likely be removed. for these reasons, my wife gave a copy to one of the leaders with the intention to publish the current edition and distribute it on easter weekend. the leaders still said no, because they didn't see how there was any time-sensitive reasons to publish it and...wait, they didn't really provide any reasons except that this was their decision and it was final.
to make a long story not quite as long, let's just say that after appealing to an elder in the church the decision of the women's ministry leaders was upheld and my wife has reluctantly agreed she will not publish the newsletter. some who have heard about the situation have privately voiced the opinion that such a process is a little ridiculous. since there really is no objection whatsoever to the actual content of the newsletter after one of the leader's read it (aside from some announcements about events in the church, which my wife agreed could be removed), there should be no reason that this edition should have to wait.
now, here's my perspective on the leadership aspect (since i haven't already made it painfully clear). since no actual reasons have been given as to why waiting would be more advantageous and better than just publishing the newsletter now, the decision of the leaders is strictly bureaucratic. they are concerned only about process in this situation, wanting to wait until the appropriate committee is formed so they can approve the newsletter. if not, better reasons should have been given but they weren't. and the perspective of the leaders is that if God truly wanted this He would somehow swoop down like Superman and intervene.
leaders need to be better at communicating and finding suitable compromises. to my wife i suggested earlier on that a suitable compromise would be for this edition to be printed now and all future editions could wait for the committee to approve, but it became clear that the leaders of women's ministry would not budge for anything beccause they believe their decision lines up with what God wants. i'm all for conviction but in this case i disagree that that is what would be good for God's people.
when leadership communicates that their decision is final only "because we said so", leadership becomes dictatorship. it fails to inspire confidence. it fails to inspire anything or appear inspired. unfortunately it doesn't seem as though those in leadership are making much of an effort to learn from the mistakes made by past leaders. the problem of church leaders acting as dictators has been a problem for hundreds of years and it appears as though it will continue to be.
all that said, i feel the right approach to this was to accept the decision made by the church elder in this situation. he is a wise and trusted man and has his reasons for making that decision, whatever those may be. it may very well be God's will that my wife should put this newsletter out, but it may also be His will that she show humility in this situation and accept even the bad decisions made by leaders in his Church.
unfortunately it means that my wife feels stifled in a gift that God has given to her to give to others and because of that she feels a little down right now. there are ups and downs to living a life of faith. what would the ups be without the downs?