I just finished attending our county fair and now head to the Iowa State Fair this week. I work as an organizational leader for a 4H club and also work with our county 4H organization, so fair time is holds the same status as major holidays in our community. Each year I am amazed at the size of the equipment and the new trends I see in farming. Our discussion last night involved a new grain cart with tracks instead of tires. I was informed that the tracks added $30,000 to the price of this grain cart. I was also informed that farmers are ordering them. As I started to reflect on this new “trend” I realized I was seeing more track driven equipment in the fields.
This got me to thinking about our task as Pastors. How does a salesman convince a farmer to step outside of the box and spend more money for a something radical and new? These salesman have to convince the farmers that this “new way” of farming is better. Complex issues like soil compaction, replacement costs, metal fatigue, etc had to be carefully and painstakingly explained. This salesman had to invest the time to convince this farmer that this “new concept” would be a better investment of his money, before he would place an order.
I wonder if sometimes in the ministry, we do not do enough work explaining the changes that we would like to make in the direction of our ministries. It might be that we assume everyone understands. Maybe, the best thing we could do is spend more time explaining the issues and answering questions. I wonder if we could learn some lessons from the salesman. Often we use the excuse that rural people are resistant to change, but the county and state fairs are proof that rural people will accept change. Maybe the real issue is not “change” but how we approach change in our congregations.