The danger in pacifying by preference is that you can end up with a congregation of babies.
The power of pacifying by love is you build a community of worshipers who belong to one another.
We left yesterday with those main thoughts as we told the tale of Evelyn Cash & The Cup. . .a few more thoughts before I head to the beach for a week of vacation. . .
The goal of your pastoral leadership should never be to make everyone happy, or to remove all reason for complaint. Spirit-led leadership is about shepherding people to love the Lord God with all they are, and to love their neighbors as they love themselves. This has to mean that there will be differences in preferences amongst the flock, otherwise we are only loving those who are just like us. We cannot truly love unless we are laying down life, and you can't lay down life if you are surrounded by people who all have the exact same preferences as you.
The battle that used to rage in church communities (and still does many places) between Hymns vs. Choruses is a great example. . .instead of learning to serve each other by insisting that the other receive their preference, we pacify ourselves by creating a service for our specific preferences. Or we plant a church that caters exclusively to "our people". . .(I'm a church planter and I recognize this tendency in me as well: the people want something, give it to them quick, before they become upset!)
The older generation and the younger generation continue to separate by preference and personal details because they desire first and foremost to have it their way.
We need diversity to learn what love means. Unity isn't being homogenous, it's about different and unique people becoming One Body because they serve One Lord. We need to learn to build bridges with love when the complaints come rather than racing around to put out the fires of superficial discontentment. The guilt is on leadership for taking this approach too often. . .but the guilt is also equally shared (and sometimes more so) by those of us who sit in services and act like babies demanding their bottle and "pacy" and not giving our leaders the freedom to shepherd. Or having the patience with each other to bear with one another in love. . .
We often think the state of immaturity in American Churchianity is due to theological issues. . .
But maybe it's just because we're immature.