The long-term effects of this kind of thing are pretty hard to determine. On the day that I preached the sermon on moving the picture, the response from the young people was pretty overwhelming. Several said a loud and enthusiastic thank you.
Predictably, some of the older members said little, or nothing at all. Yet even some from whom I had expected some resistance said that they appreciated my message. I was really surprised. The entire attitude was very positive.
Of course, there was some grumbling, but almost all of it was out of my earshot. One absentee member was pretty upset, but it seems those with the least investment are often most concerned about superficial things.
One proposal from members who feel connected to the picture was actually one I had already entertained – putting the picture up somewhere else in the church. I think that’s an excellent idea. It is part of the church history, and part of many members’ identity. To me, that proposal was an answer to prayer.
I still think this church is poised on the brink of a great revival. There are days when things are pretty stagnant and frustrating. Attendance has been low since last fall. But there are new people attending. We have more active young people. I am hoping that we can make a turnaround in the near future.