I enjoyed watching NBC’s “Inside The Obama White House” this week. Rochelle and I always enjoy a peek behind-the-scenes of “the people’s house.” I remember that we stole some Christmas tree ideas from Laura Bush a few years ago. While these specials are typically over-hyped and choreographed (as if the President goes to Five Guys Burgers every week); I was interested in one thing President Obama said in the interview.
When asked about cable news, he mentioned that he did not find the conversations helpful. He went on to say that many of the hosts, contributors and personalities are “set pieces.” What he meant was that the T.V. personalities played characters — the conservative, the liberal, the gas-bag, the funny gas-bag, the crier, the yeller, the out-raged, etc….
I thought it was interesting that the President said he found the conversations unhelpful. In his opinion, when everyone already knows what everyone else is going to say before they say it, the conversation gets stuck and there’s no need to bother to listen. And stuck dialogues are devastating for any organization.
At times in my ministry career, I have cast myself as a character in the church story. I’ve been the young and naive — and played it masterfully. I’ve been the fly in the ointment, the voice no one wants to hear, you know, the prophet. I learned over time that once you’ve played your role and learned your lines for long enough, most people play President and simply don’t tune in to your channel anymore.
This is the danger of becoming a set piece.
The trouble is that many times the set pieces we become are partly — if not mostly — us. That means to keep other’s attention, to be a channel worth viewing, we need to keep our perspectives fresh, new and evolving. Which, in turn, means that we must continue growing and developing. Our perspectives need to be challenged and we need to be opened to being challenged. If not, we cannot grow.
As a church leader, I know that people need fresh words from God, and as the human voice that’s given the microphone, that fresh word is expected to come through me. I — nor my church — can afford for me to be a broken record; a set piece.
And in whatever capacity you serve your family and humanity, you can’t become a broken record either. So here’s your challenge: What are you doing today to keep it fresh?