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Case Study #4 - The Church Library

Imagine that just after your church's worship service you walk over to greet two of your friends. When you realize that they are involved in an intense discussion, you turn away. But one of them notices you and grabs your arm, saying, "Don't go away! We need your advice."

Chris goes on to say, "You know that Pastor asked us to come up with a plan for the interior of our new library. Well, Terry and I both have our own ideas and we really see things differently. The dedication is less than a month away and we still don't know what we're going to do.

"I think that a church library should be warm and welcoming. We should have colors that are calm and contemplative, a traditional look, if you know what I mean. We've already got comfortable leather chairs and sofas. We can buy some additional reading lamps and make this a place where people can think and be quiet.

"I was also thinking that we should hang photos of all our former senior pastors on the wall -- you know, to really connect us with our roots and our Christian heritage. If we don't remember where we've come from, how can we know where we should go?"

When Chris pauses to take a breath, Terry speaks up. "I certainly agree that we shouldn't ignore our heritage. But, it doesn't do us any good to have a library that nobody uses. That was the problem with the old one. It was dark and uninviting, so it didn't get much use. All those wonderful books just sat there, collecting dust.

"The whole reason for the remodel is to get people to use the library! If we're going to get people to give it a try, it needs to be more than a comfortable place to think. It has to say, 'This is where things are happening!' We need to have bright, bold colors, the sort of look that grabs people's attention and makes them want to check it out.

Terry looks at Chris. "I'm all for comfortable chairs and sofas. In fact, I like our overstuffed leather furniture, but a lot of folks use them just to nap between Sunday school and worship. We can get a great deal on some modern, functional and comfortable stuff. We need a look that wakes people up.

"And I don't think photos of our former pastors will draw people in. It would be much better to use the wall space for posters or for drawings that our children do -- things that are bright and cheerful, that people enjoy looking at."

You realize that both of your friends are looking at you now. Having voiced their conflicting opinions, they clearly expect a Solomon-like decision. What could you do or say that would help them resolve their differences in a wise and biblical manner?

After you have written out what you could do or say in this situation, click here to read our sample detailed response.


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