Last week I had the opportunity to attend of a meeting of youngish leaders (I put “ish” on because they included me;-) The gathering was of about thirty people from different parts of the country and from various ministry backgrounds from church planters to worship leaders to those who work with nonprofit groups. The guy who organized the meeting gave us instructions in an email a week or so before we arrived. The event had one rule, just one – NO COMPLAINING. I have to say that in all the meetings I attended I’ve never seen one that was so intentional from the outset about not complaining. Looking back on the gathering I think this is the best rule ever. From our opening session right up to the late night conversations on the last night everything stayed on such a positive and productive track.
How many times have you been in meetings that have turned into a whole lot of whining and moaning about what’s wrong with everything? I’ve been in more than a couple myself… truth be told I’ve done my share of whining too.
Having a “no complaining” rule isn’t denial of problems but rather it forces one to work on problems from a positive place which, in turn, is much more conducive to solutions that are fair, just, innovative and loving. I read an amazing quote by Ghandi that I used to keep on my office wall, “Be the change you want to see.” The truth is that when we are in a posture of grumbling and complaining we will bring no redemptive change in the world around us because we feel somehow that we are the victims of all the problems around us. Yet when we stop complaining and start doing something, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time, we ourselves begin to change and to effect change in the world around us. I’m convinced that I want to try enforcing this rule more in my own life but also in meetings with those who lead with me.
What are your experiences with groups of people and complaining?