I think it was Jack Welch (or was it Jesus?) who said, "The main task of leadership is telling good stories."

A declining system in atrophy (such as my own, United Methodism) tends to squelch those good stories, even though the church is the body of the One who came into Galilee preaching nothing but gospel–good news.

In one of the congregations in which I served, I was afflicted by a church treasurer with a negative attitude (most clergy know that "negative treasurer" is a tautology). A new idea? Some creative proposal for innovative ministry? That treasurer could kill it before it made it to the maternity ward by saying, "We tried that 10 years ago. Didn't work." Or, "There's no money. Drop it."

In despair, I sought the counsel of an older pastor. He said, "Son, there is no way to defeat defeatism except with good news. Bad news only strengthens the stranglehold of the defeatists. You pray to God to give you some true good news, some gospel, and when you get it, ride it for everything ...

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