Feeling the pinch

I’d had pretty much the same hairstyle for twenty years. Somewhere between chin and shoulders in length, with long layers. This look suited me well enough, I guess. There was no complicated styling involved. I didn’t have to buy any product. I could throw my hair in a ponytail when I wanted. Still, I was craving something different.

I researched short hairstyles, asking friends with cute hair to send me pictures and details on what it took to get their coiffures to look that way. I set aside some money for a cut in a real! salon! because it seemed too risky to make a big change for $7.99 at Great Clips. I asked around for stylist recommendations. I was ready…or was I? I kept putting off making the appointment. No time for a haircut this week…I don’t want to still be figuring out how to tame my new ‘do when X event rolls around…I remember being confused when I was in preschool and my mom made a drastic hair change, and I don’t want to do that to my son.

And then said son began protesting whenever I pulled my hair back into a ponytail, which was most of my at-home hours. “No! Take it out!” He even became quite adept at pulling out my ponytail holder before I even realized what was happening. It was time for the haircut.

So I did it. I went to the grown-up salon and had all the hair that had been weighing me down whacked off. I had been wanting and plotting for a while, but I had to feel a pinch to get myself in gear.

This is the state that many of our churches find themselves in. They want to follow their evolving call from God. Often they already have the resources and have even made some concrete plans for how to move forward. Something, however, is holding them back. Maybe it’s fear. Maybe it’s comfort. These congregations need to feel the pinch before they’re willing to make the leap.  

Sometimes the pinch happens naturally. A staff transition necessitates re-evaluation of leadership needs. The property next to the church goes up for sale. A local service agency invites the congregation into a partnership that would benefit both entities and the community as a whole. A shrinking budget prompts discussion about the best use of resources.

Sometimes, however, leaders who have latched onto God’s dream for the congregation need to help their constituents feel the pinch. How might you help the people you minister alongside discover both the opportunity in and urgency for potential change?

Creative Commons image “Pinch.” by Marie-Claire Camp is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

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