The pope is kind of a big deal right now. In what seems like no time, he’s managed to change the way that many people view the Catholic Church, and he’s imbued a fresh sense of optimism. I don’t think anybody expected him to have the effect that he’s had, and I know I’ve been amazed at how much he’s been able to affect things. It got me thinking about what it was that enabled him to lead so decisively. Here’s my (uneducated) guess:
I think Pope Francis looked honestly and critically at the perception of the church. That sounds easy, but it’s actually quite difficult. We’re all susceptible to groupthink. It’s easy to cast an un-critical eye toward your own group. It seems like the pope was able to look at the church and recognize that it was increasingly being viewed as corrupt, outdated and elitist (at least at the Vatican level). Not only that, he’s been willing to make important steps that have surprised many people.
Every ministry needs fresh perspective. We all need to honestly understand how we are perceived. Again, it’s easy to slip into the comfort of doing what seems good to you. Getting honest feedback is very difficult, but we all need it. So, go after it! You can…
- Ask parents to fill out an anonymous survey
- Hire a consultant
- Ask other children’s leaders to visit your rooms and give you feedback
Whatever you do, create the opportunity to be observed by a new pair of eyes. Embrace the opportunity to be critiqued. It’s the best way to really understand where you are, and where you need to go.
How have you gained fresh perspective on your ministry?