You are NOT a Cry Baby: The Power of Emotion

You are NOT a Cry Baby: The Power of Emotion


You are NOT a Cry Baby: The Power of Emotion

Courtesy of Yoshihide Nomara/
OK folks, brace yourself. I found myself crying not once but twice during worship last week. Maybe my church should invest in Kleenex. I remind you, this is a church that is not known for creating waterworks on a regular basis. For heaven’s sake, we are a mainline, worship-from-the-neck-up kind of crowd. Every now and again during a worship song, I get really brave. Not wanting to freak anyone out, I sort of cup my hands right by my waist in an upward motion. I mean it’s very close to being charismatic.
So what had me going this week? Two videos – and they couldn’t have been more different from each other. During early morning worship Rev. Dan Pitney has a moment called “Making a Better World.” It’s a time to show an uplifting piece about ordinary people doing the right thing. This week’s video was about a kid whose father robbed an elderly woman. The kid found out what his dad did and...I won’t spoil it for you but watch it here and see what happens.
Later, during the sermon, Pastor Dan was talking about Jesus’ recognition that he wasn’t going to live a long life. To emphasize his point, Pastor Dan showed a portion of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s final speech recorded on April 3, 1968. And…cue the second tear-fest. If that powerful two-minute portion of his speech doesn’t bring you to tears, I don’t know what will.
This is not a treatise that crying should be commonplace at church (but would that be so wrong?). It is a reminder that as people we have a full range of emotions some of which should be appropriately and authentically expressed – even in church.
Here’s the bonus, emotions often lead us to be more generous.
Francesco Ambrogetti’s post “Cry Me a River: WHY and HOW Emotions Can Save Fundraising and the Non-Profit World” says that scientific research is showing how the limbic system in our brain (as opposed to the rational part of our brain) is what motivates us to give – it’s the “gut feeling” you often hear about. “The same part of the brain is active when we decide to donate, provoking the same reaction caused by other stimuli like sex, food and money, hence the scientific proof that ‘giving makes you happy’!”
Does emotion worry you because you’re afraid of manipulating people? Yesterday’s blog post from “Future Fundraising Now” addressed this very concern:
“[Does your board] tell you to ‘stick with the facts’ because making the rational case with facts and numbers is the only honorable way to motivate people to donate?
Apparently that person has never fallen in love, held a baby, or watched a sunset.
Because those things – and hundreds of other experiences like them – teach us that emotional information is meaningful. In some ways, it's a lot more meaningful than statistics and facts.
You can lie and manipulate with statistics just as well as you can with emotions. It's your duty to tell the truth in any situation, and always to treat your donors with respect.”

So let’s hear it for emotion! A good cry, a good laugh, or a moment of transcendence is just plain good for the soul. But please, remember to pass the Kleenex.
PSSSST…Don’t forget, Valentine’s Day is this Sunday! How are you going to “show the love” to your congregation?
Cesie Delve Scheuermann is a consultant in stewardship, development, and grant writing. Over the past decade, while working as a volunteer and part-time consultant, she helped raise over $2.5 million dollars for numerous non-profit organizations. If you want to see waterworks, she’s just coming to grips that this is the final season of Downton Abbey and The Good Wife. She served as the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference Lay Leader from 2008-2012. Her position with the Conference is funded through a generous grant from the Collins Foundation; she is available to consult with churches in Oregon and Idaho. You can reach her at
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Cesie Delve Scheuermann

Cesie Delve Scheuermann is consultant in grant writing and stewardship/development working with the Conference. From 2008-12 she was the Conference Lay Leader for the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference.

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