This quote from the comments section of No Impact Man came in one of my email subscriptions today, and I think it also applies very well to ministry. I know I've had to get out of myself sometimes to share fellowship or mission opportunities with people, and I've traditionally been one to hang back and let them come to me, then open up. If I do that as a pastor, people will think I'm rude or aloof! And luckily, it has crossed into my "personal" life as well. Now, if there is a mom at Gymboree who doesn't talk much, I try not to automatically think "she doesn't like me," and instead think "maybe she's just shy; I should say hello to her." Sometimes I still end up feeling rebuffed (maybe she really doesn't like me!) but a lot of times I find that people are willing to be friendly, maybe I'm just the one who needs to make the first move.
Anyway, here is the quote. It is from Susan Och, whose blog or whatnot I cannot find, but I really appreciate that she said this:
“One of the cool things about trying to change the world is that you eventually have to go out and talk to "strangers". You have to turn off that voice in your head that gives you reasons to avoid people ("Too Fat!" "Too Old!" "Carrying a Plastic Shopping Bag!" "Wrong Team Sweatshirt" "Not Like Me!") and to greet others with sincerity and humility. When you're just trying to save the world in your head, it seems that progress depends on getting everyone on the same page. ‘If only everyone rode bikes....’ or ‘If only everyone was a vegetarian.....’ When you get out and talk to people, you find that reality is complicated, and that the solutions are many. Instead of sitting alone, fretting that ‘people will never change,’ we find that people are changing, and offering fresh solutions for our seemingly intractable problems.”