I' m nearing the two-year mark as pastor of a rural church. I came full of ideas and plans. But by now I've learned the wisdom of something I first heard Edith Bunker tell Archie: "Don't fix nothin' that don't need fixin'."

Three lessons brought me to this conclusion.

People tell you things they don't mean

When people say, "Whatever you want to do is fine with us," they don't mean it.

My congregation is a progressive group of mature believers. They want me to have absolute freedom to do whatever I want-almost. While I've never heard those immortal words "We've never done that before," I have seen them written on a few faces. Somehow, psychologically, people don't like to tell their new pastor he cannot do something. So they tell the neophyte that "whatever you do is fine with us" and hope he won't make a radical change.

When I was a youth pastor, a business asked the youth group to take on the task of mailing Christmas books to every child in our community. It amounted to addressing several ...

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