Hank had been a Christian for 50 years. By the time I came to pastor Hank's church, he was an old cranky guy. He had been a member there since he was a young cranky guy.

Hank complained about his family, he complained about his job, and one day, he began to complain about the church's music. He stopped people in the church lobby—visitors, strangers—and said, "Don't you think the music in this church is too loud?" We sat him down and told him he had to stop that. I figured that was the end of it.

Several weeks later, I got a visit from a man from OSHA, the government agency that oversees safety in workplaces. I wondered, Why is someone from OSHA here to see me?

He began explaining dangerous decibel levels at airports and rock concerts. Then I realized what had happened. Hank couldn't get satisfaction anywhere else, so he called OSHA to report that the church's music was too loud!

I started laughing. I apologized to the OSHA agent for making light of the situation, but it just struck me as silly. The agent said, "You think you feel silly? Do you have any idea how much abuse I've taken at OSHA since everyone found out I was busting a church?"

Fifty years in the church hadn't brought a smile to Hank. He was just as grumpy as he had always been, maybe more.

How can we help people like Hank grow to be more like Christ?

Great expectations

Hank's lack of joy wasn't only his fault. He hadn't changed, perhaps because we didn't expect him to. We expected him to attend, to tithe, to serve, and to stay away from certain scandalous things. But we didn't expect transformation, significant change on the inside and outside.

Unfortunately, we hadn't helped him to change, either.

In Romans 12:2, "Be transformed by the renewing of your minds," the word ...

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Summer 2002: Ministry for a Lifetime  | Posted
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