I've had great church meetings, really good ones, good ones, mediocre ones, bad ones and really bad ones - probably on a fairly standard bell curve. (meaning that most of them have been in the middle categories) I've had more that were a variety of multiple designations (and occasionally pretty much all the designations) than could be classified in only one way, since most of them involved multiple speakers, multiple topics and multiple speaking abilities. I've heard more mediocre-great talks than bad-horrible talks - and the ratio probably isn't very close, even if there were more mediocre-really good talks than great talks.
I view it kind of like I view my high school classes and the blessings I've given in my life:
I'm willing to put up with the bad and the merely good in order to experience the great and the paradigm-altering -- even if the ratio is 9:1 or higher. I don't expect a better ratio, so I'm not disappointed - at least, not in the aggregate. My mind still is blown occasionally by an incredible talk, even after over 40 years in the Church, and, often, it is by someone whom I would not have expected to blow me away. It not only is a mind-blowing joy when that happens, but it also is humbling in a powerful way - since it illustrates to me again how badly we often judge others.
What I'm saying is that we can't expect meetings where lay people speak to be full of amazing talks. We should expect a wide array of skills - and a number of talks that just don't apply or appeal to us. That's not depressing to me in the slightest; it's reality - and it's charitable, which is really important.
I don't have low expectations, overall. I don't mean to imply that in what I've written. What I mean is that I don't expect mind-blowing, superb discourses most of the time, so I'm not disappointed when it only happens occasionally.
Just to illustrate my point a bit differently:
I am a very good public speaker. It's a strength and a natural gift. Most people aren't like that, and the only ways to change that are to give them chances to learn. So, I put up with "merely good" talks most of the time and thoroughly enjoy the ones that rock my spiritual world.
Having said that, I know people who weren't inspired much by talks I've given, despite my natural ability in that area. I don't think it's depressing that they have to accept me as a speaker to experience the ones that really stir their souls.
Advent: Unto the Least — (Part 2 of 2)
55 minutes ago