PEOPLE ARE SPYING ON YOU
Let’s face it, people are watching you all the time. Not only that but they are interpreting what they see through their lens of your being a clergy. And if you really want some pressure, their understanding of Christianity is significantly shaped by how they interpret what they see and hear about not only you but other clergy as well. Recognize that as a reality but instead of stressing about it, let’s play with it.
THE CLERGY IMAGE GAME
Gather some colleagues and have some fun playing a game of clergy images. As a group make a list of images that you think people have of clergy. Include both positive and negative images and don’t hesitate to exaggerate your descriptions.
Name some very public figures within Christianity and identify some of the images that they convey. For example, what are the images people might have of Desmond Tutu for Franklin Graham? Recognize that different people will have different images, both positive and negative. As with each of you, some of those images may be fair and some unfair, but they all convey strong messages about the church and the faith.
Next, if a person from Mars visited earth and heard about clergy through the lens of the various images you have listed, what would the Martian image of Christianity be? Move down the list quickly without a lot of elaboration but with recognition of what such images convey to the outsider.
Now, with a touch more seriousness but still enjoying the exercise, share with each other some of the images that you think different members of your congregation have of you. Identify some positive and negative ones, especially some images that you think are unfair but are still held by at least a few in your congregations.
Now for some positive reaffirmation. Speaking to each person one at a time, identify a positive image that your group thinks that many might see in that person and his or her ministry.
Allow each person to affirm how it feels to bear that image in ministry.
Finally, let each person identify one new image that s/he would like to cultivate as they exercise their ministry.
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In the next blog, I want to explore how we might transform this clergy game into a congregational game.