Thursday, July 26, 2007

Being Transparent

f you live in a fishbowl, it’s a bad idea to try to hide. It just looks funny. Everyone can see you slinking around. What follows is for those in the ministry, but applies to any living in the public eye.
My vicarage supervisor advised me to always telegraph what I would be doing. In other words, whether personally or professionally, a pastor should lay the groundwork, tell others what he is thinking about, planning to do, wanting to do. Get opinions and follow them (or not), but don’t surprise people. Pastors do not like surprises and neither do layfolk.

Of course, this should be done within reason. One doesn’t need to publicize buying a new shirt. Buying a new house? Definitely. The larger the matter one is contemplating, the more it needs to be broadcast as well. Tweaking the Confirmation curriculum should be broadcast to elders and parents. Adding a year to the usual curriculum should be publicized often to many groups. If a matter you are contemplating could be interpreted in a negative way, looks unseemly, or is subject to due criticism, pray for a way to avoid doing it. It’s not worth it. If it must be done, be very public about what is going on. It still may appear questionable, but being honest and public about the matter will cover over a multitude of questions.
And it should go without being said, the people to broadcast this to are the ones who gossip.