Monday, May 27, 2013

How Leader's Process Hurt

Previous Post from June 2011. 

Hurt People can Hurt People

Genesis 31:7, "but he (Laban) has cheated me, changing my wages ten times. But God has not allowed him to hurt me." 

Jacob was done wrong in the most amazing way. Worked 7 years for a lady he did not want to marry and then was cheated into working another 7 years for the wife he wanted. Despite this, Jacob carried a godly perspective and did not allow the hurt he experienced to shape him. 

We will never escape life without experiencing hurt and pain. Realize that hurt and pain from a sickness or disease is much different than hurt or pain from relationships. I want to talk to you about that for a few minutes. 

In life and especially ministry, you will get hurt from and by people. You will also, hopefully unintentionally, hurt others as well. The way we respond and react will utlimately determine how we proceed in our lives. 

To be totally honest, I have been taught all the proper techniques of planting and growing churches. The books I have read and mentors I have sat under address all the hot topics and trending movements. I was aware of all the church growth stuff. I was aware of all the newest teaching. However I was not aware and was never taught on a real level how much people can hurt you. 

You have two options when you are hurt by someone. The first option is to internalize it and promise yourself this will never happen again. You can live in a false trust of others and react out of that pain the rest of your life. The second option is to process the hurt and pain in a positive manner. The first step is to realize that people are people. Allow yourself to grieve the relationship and the hurt, but ultimately allow God to speak to you, give you perspective and then encourage you. 

I have been active in ministry for 10 years now. Only the past two years have I met some of the most faithful and trustworthy people and literally, crazy folks. Yep. Crazy. I have heard, "I got your back man. We are going to do this together." Or my favorite, "I am here to serve you. God has called me here." After these statements, the same folks have cursed me out (and I am still trying to figure out why), left me and never returned a call, attempted to sabotage our ministry when we supported them in difficult times and one dude even gave a check and then stopped payment without telling me (you know that story). 

God has taught me how to discern who the true leaders are. God has taught me to love those who have done me wrong. God has taught me how to love and most importantly He has taught me how to process pain and hurt from relationships.

Here are the steps to take when a relationship ends painfully: 
1) Extend love and grace to that person.People are people. We are fallen and broken. 
2) Spread that love and grace to your leadership around you. They may have to know the facts (or they may not), but teach them how to operate in love and grace. 
3) Allow yourself time to grieve. It hurts. You will experience shock and awe in some of the stuff that is done to you and your family. Cry. Cry out to God. Have a friend to vent to. 
4) Gain God's perspective on the situation. Let Him speak to you about the situation. 
5) Finally, do not react in an email, text or even a call. If you feel that you absolutely must talk to that person, do it face to face and get someone to be your filter and see if it is worth it. 

Jacob was hurt deeply. He had huge disappointments, but he did not allow that hurt to run his life or dictate his calling. Neither should we. Process the pain positively.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Defense Doesn't Win Championships

In sports we always hear, "Defense wins championships." That is true for sports. Just ask Mike Diantoni (Currently Lakers Coach).

However in your ministry this is not true. Defense doesn't win. Leaders who are defensive find ways to lose.

Being defensive means that we respond to criticism or advice in a critical way. Ministry success is not primarily found in great preaching or outreach techniques but how one decides to respond to criticism. I have been a part of ministries that fell apart at the seams because the senior leader was defensive.

Three Signs to Become Aware of Your Defensive Posture:
1. Can't Handle Criticism:
•Defensive leaders get extremely offended at any sign of criticism and they bite those who give it. All criticism is bad. Even though it may be through a biased lens, you can still learn from it.
Ask, "Why did I respond that way?"

2. Unholy Ownership:
Defensive leaders also call their ministry/organization, leaders or group "my" and "mine." Because of this posture when things don't go 100% correctly they take extreme offense and become defensive. This especially manifests if someone else is seeing success and they are not. Jealousy and isolation are birthed from this one.
Ask, "Why do I call it 'mine?'"

3. Blame Game:
Another defensive mechanism is when one starts blaming external circumstances and other people for their problems. They make comments like, "We need more commitment. These people just don't care." They must first look INTERNALLY to find out if they need to change instead immediately looking to others as the main fault.
Ask, "What do I need to change in my dealing with others that will make it easier to work with me?"

The reason I can write this is because I am extremely defensive. I am praying daily for God to heal my heart of insecurity and bitterness that produces these defense mechanisms. My wife helps me immensely to see when I am operating in this mindset.
Ask God daily to help you heal and ask others to help you guard against the big 3.