The first time guest who can’t find a parking spot, or the charter member who refuses to relinquish his long-held space.
The worshipper who arrived early to stake a spot in the back, or the couple running late who – because the back seats are filled – has to be paraded down front after the sermon begins.
The new volunteer who timidly wants to give that ministry a try, or the tenured volunteer who won’t give up control.
The grandmother who can’t worship without her pipe organ and hymnal, or her grandson who views them as relics of another era.
The supervisor who called a last-minute “emergency” meeting at work, or the spouse who is eagerly anticipating a long-awaited date night.
The tattooed-and-pierced kid from down the street who is walking into your church for the first time, or the buttoned-down businessman who believes the house of God deserves more reverence.
The staff team who expects a voice and a vote, or the belligerent staff member who rides roughshod with his opinions and ideas.
The mom who can’t pacify her baby after twenty minutes of trying, or the twenty people around her who lost track of the message fifteen minutes before.
The disciple who wants your input on every aspect of life and needs an early morning meet up twice per week, or your child who would give anything for you to take him to school.
In ministry, in life, in leadership, it’s not a question of if you’ll offend someone. It’s a question of whom. Sadly, making friends and making decisions don’t always go hand-in-hand.
The better question is not if or whom, but why. Why is it important that we defer to the first time guest? Why is it vital for us to put our family first? Why do we wrestle with the good of the one vs. the good of the many…and why are those different answers in different situations?
Offenses are unavoidable. But deciding whom you’ll offend is totally in your control.