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longarm-1Being a pastor is sometimes like herding pigs.  I’m not going for the cheap joke here, although I’m sure there is one.  I’m serious.  Apparently pig farmers have serious difficulty getting pigs to go into the barn in an orderly fashion.  Farmers can use cattle prods and big sticks to drive pigs, but this makes the pigs mad, and if you’re surrounded by 3,000 pigs, you don’t want them mad at you. 

Another tool in the farmer’s arsenal is a longboard.  A longboard, just like it sounds, is a longboard up to 30′ in length and really heavy.  Takes a big burly farmer to swing the board like a moving gate which guides the pigs in the right direction.  

Stay with me now, the payoff is coming.

But, Mary Haugh wasn’t a big burly farmer.  After multiple heart attacks left her husband incapable of swinging the longboard, Mary needed a pig-guide that she could manage.  She noticed that as pigs walked by the red longboards, they hesitated.  Mary thought, “Maybe it’s the color, not the board.”  So she came up with another idea.

Mary bought a roll of red fabric, secured it at one end and held it at the other.  She used the 30′ of fabric like a flexible fence, guiding the pigs through the barn into the holding pens.  

Mary’s solution was soft, light, and effective.  Watch the video to see how this works.  Okay, here’s the payoff:  

Church leadership needs new thinking in times of change.  While you can drive people, they might get mad.  Rigid leadership longboards might also work, but there may be an easier way.  Try soft, easy, and flexible.  It just might work, and then you’ve got happy pigs   members who go where they’re supposed to.  

(HT to kottke.org)