Here’s a question. Is ‘creative dissatisfaction either a) sinful b) divisive and counterproductive or c) absolutely essential to church growth? It comes as no surprise when I tell you that I’m pretty firmly in camp (c).
What does ‘creative dissatisfaction’ really mean? I think it means that we’re always on the lookout for opportunities, usually masquerading as problems, and ways to improve, if necessary dismantling irrelevant structures. No sophistry here, if a way can be found, or presents itself, there’s no escape, it should be implemented, not endlessly talked about, mulled over, prayed over or agonised about.
Good leaders should fully and visibly embrace the need for “constructive dissatisfaction” and the desire for positive change – not just putting it on the agenda but personally investing themselves in it. If they do, a group forms up behind them, buying into the concept and adding to the investment. We used to call it ‘catching the vision’ as I recall.
Wherein lies the danger? Obviously, the notion of change of any kind often brings out the worst in people. The movers and shakers are often perceived as always harping and critical – usually by people who can’t see the rhino on the lawn and if they do they simply walk politely around it, hoping it will find somewhere else to graze. The frogs on the lilypad sit in comfort, croaking soothingly about Tradition, which makes me want to kick the lilypad hard since investment with a capital letter confers meaningless authority and an antithetical view of progress.
Whether the Church likes it or not, pilgrimage is a nomadic way of life. Daring to take a long, cool look at ourselves and ask why we do what we do takes courage.