The Disney Parks are full of magic. We know it, the cast members know it, and the other guests know it. Some of that magic is spontaneous, fun, and unexpected. It comes when we don’t look for it and surprises us with joy. I once rounded a corner to find my mom dancing with penguins. Some is carefully crafted, moments that cast members work hard to make special. Fireworks and shows that create connections and powerful shows that bring together music, light, and emotions. The last time I saw World of Color I cried. Some magic, however is not really magic unless we allow it to be.
There are many fictions that we accept when we walk into a Disney Park: standing in line is fun, it is reasonable to pay $9 for a ham sandwich, walking miles on asphalt every day is worth it, and many others that we use to justify what is in reality an expensive, exhausting, and in many ways inconvenient. Then there are the fictions that the cast members maintain: everyone has a magical day, the cast members are happy to help you with anything, you are actually visiting Mos Isley, Arendelle, Mickey’s House or any number of other places. The fiction that always strikes me the most is, “There’s only one Mickey Mouse.”
Cast members insist that this is true not just for Mickey Mouse but for all the characters. If Merida is in a parade, you cannot meet her in her autograph area. She’s busy. And I understand that. If you want children to believe that they are really meeting their favorite character, that character cannot be in two places at once. Kids aren’t stupid. But I have thought about this when I have heard it said and wondered what if there was really only one Mickey Mouse? What if only one cast member was trained to be Mickey Mouse? What would that look like?
First, of course Mickey would only be at one Park. My guess would be Disneyland since that’s where his house is. Mickey could only see people for a limited amount of time. Not seven days a week, not twelve hours a day, not holidays. Mickey could work shifts or probably only twenty minutes in high summer before heading in for re-hydration and shade. Of the close to 20 million visitors who visit Disneyland, how many would get to see Mickey Mouse? It’s hard to say, but certainly less than those who see him now. Take away from that number all those at other Disney Parks, cruises, resorts, and events and I would guess the resulting percentage would be too small to calculate. Fortunately, this in not the case. There is more than one Mickey Mouse and we accept the fiction that there isn’t to preserve the magic.
This thought often comes to me when we have conversations in church that end in the statement, “Well, that’s the pastor’s job.” It is a catch all to indicate that the work needs to be done by someone other than the speaker. Interestingly the one things that these conversations have in common is that they are encouraging unwilling lay people to be more involved in the ministry of the church. They don’t feel comfortable saying that they don’t want to do the work that the church is called to do, so they instead shift the focus from themselves to the paid professional who just needs to to more, better, more interesting work. But just like Mickey Mouse, there needs to be more than one.
If the church is relying on one person, no matter who that person is, to do all the work of inviting, incorporating, and training the church is limiting itself. No one, no matter how talented, well-trained, or inspirational can do it all. No matter how wonderful, s/he needs days off, breaks, and time away. What’s more, no one person is good at everything. We need multiple people with multiple talents doing the work of the church (or any other place) or we will be limited by one person’s limitations and flaws. Growth takes the commitment of everyone involved not just one person. If we want the magic to happen, we need to have enough people committed to making it happen. One is not enough.
There is more than one Mickey Mouse and that is a good thing. There should be more than one person focused on any particular group goal if the group truly wants it to succeed.