When Not to Say No

(from Incidents from the Church Office: 52 Meditations for Support Staff and Volunteers)

 

Summing it up friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things “true, noble, reputable… the best, not the worst.” Philippians 4:8

 

“There will be no Sunday school next Sunday.” As I read these words, I wondered, Why not?

 

We live in a negative world with daily news of wars raging around the world, and violence at home, work, and in our communities. The word no finds its way into government agencies, classrooms, sports events, and creeps into our churches.

 

When visiting different churches, I’ve seen negative signs lurking inside and outside of the building: “No entrance,” “No parking in front of the church,” or “No right turn.” I’ve thought how “Enter at next driveway,” “Reserved for first-time visitors,” or “Exit to your left” would be more inviting.

 

Years ago I went to a seminar about communication in the church and learned how no can have a negative impact when printed in newsletters and bulletins. “No church school next Sunday” might make the reader think the church doesn’t take the children’s ministry program seriously. It is better to provide the answer in advance: “Church school will be in recess next Sunday due to the special worship service for families.”

 

I’ve seen no shouted in announcements by being printed in bold letters, emphasized with italics, underscored, and made larger than the rest of the words. NO!

 

It is okay to use the word no in the church, as in: “No, we won’t accept nofor an answer!” Lord, help us support your ministry in a positive way,

 

 

“Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8
I often read from several devotional resources before I write a Daily Meditation Moment. Often I find synchronicity in the messages—like today. From Marianne Williamson’s book “Everyday Grace” the topic I read today was from a chapter called “8:00 a.m. Starting the Day.” To jump start your day, I quote the prayer at the end of the chapter:

 

Dear God, I give you this morning. Please take away my despair of yesterday. Help me to forgive the things that caused me pain and would keep me bound. Help me to begin again. Please bless my path and illumine my mind. I surrender to You the day ahead. Please bless every person and situation I will encounter. Make me who You would have me be, that I might do as You would have me do. Please enter my heart and remove all anger, fear and pain. Renew my soul and free my spirit. Thank you, God, for this day. Amen.

 

And, I say Amen, too.

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