Do you know what an Ombudsman is? You should. It is an important role.
An ombudsman is a person who stands between two connected groups and keeps the communication flowing. They are an ambassador of sorts, but instead of functioning for the sake of one party they function for both.
In the military, an ombudsman has the responsibility of keeping the humanity of the leadership and the soldiers in mind even when it gets easy to for each to look at the other as just “the brass” or “the grunts.” It creates an amenable short circuit in an otherwise separate hierarchy. How can the average corporal’s wife demand information from a colonel without fearing repercussions without an intercessor?
This has been in my mind because of a recent episode of “The Leonard Lopate Show: Please Explain” (March 21, 2008) where they interviewed the NPR Ombudsman. I had heard an interview with the previous ombudsman a while back, but this one got me thinking about ombudsmen again.
I decided to post this while listening to Buzz Out Loud #690 (at 3min 45sec) where Molly Wood expressed a “life theory”/”one big fortune cookie” saying used as: “It is rarely the situation, it is almost always the communication.”
When a church is small a few negative voices can rip the church down, but as it gets large you have a BB vs. a Battleship situation happening. While the leadership can feel more secure knowing that the people who just tend to be disagreeable will be quickly plowed under, the same thing happens to sincere people with real concerns. In the same way, bad information gets spread around and the leadership is stressed because nobody is coming to them to get the story straight.
- How does your church do with this type of communication?
- Do you perceive “ombudsman” as a promising position in the church?
- Would it be a volunteer position?
- Do you think this is really the job of the Pastor or Elders?
- Is this just a crazy idea?