10 Hard Things to Say…5 Ways to Say Them as a Leader

In any relationship, there comes a time where it’s necessary to say things which are difficult to keep the relationship strong and make it better. This is also true in a healthy team environment.

For me personally, that often involves having a hard and challenging conversation with a team member…someone I love being on the team, but know they need correction in an area that is affecting the team. These are always discussions I’d rather not have, but I know are necessary for the continued health of the relationship, the team, and the individual.

Over the years, I have had many of these issues which required “tough love” to address them, but dealing with problems like this have included me having to say things such as:

  • You’re too controlling as a leader…
  • You can be perceived as a jerk to people…
  • Your personal life is dragging down the team…
  • You have body odor…
  • You’re making unwise decisions…
  • You are non-responsive…
  • You don’t know how to take constructive criticism…
  • You are moving too fast…
  • You are moving too slow…
  • You are uncooperative…

I should note that not all of these have been said with my current team…for example, to my knowledge no one on my team has body odor…thankfully, but through my years in leadership, I have had to say each one of these statements to someone I was supposed to be leading. Those conversations, as awkward and uncomfortable as they were, always proved to be good for the team and the team member. There have been times when someone needed to have similar “tough love” conversations with me and those discussions always made me better, as difficult as they were to receive at the time.

I have learned 5 principles for dealing with those times as a leader:

3 Benefits of Forgiveness

One of the most frequent issues I deal with as a pastor is the issue of forgiveness. There is so much hurt among people and the tendency is to bottle it up in an unforgiving spirit. It would be easier to hold a grudge, but Scripture is clear we have an obligation to forgive…just as we have been forgiven.

Whenever I address this issue, I get push back from those who say they can’t get over what was done to them. I remind them that the Bible doesn’t say we must forget, but to forgive. There’s a huge difference. It doesn’t even say we should allow forgiveness to be an open door for continued abuse by someone. The goal is to free our hearts by letting go of the anger, bitterness, and frustration with the person who wronged you.

This is not only because God commanded it, but practically speaking, the emotions brought on by failing to forgive begin to control you and serve no purpose to repair the relationship or you. Holding onto the pain certainly doesn’t teach the other person a lesson or make them a better person. Of course, when the other person keeps causing new injury it makes it even tougher, but it doesn’t release us from an obligation to forgive.

Forgiveness brings much to a person’s life:

17 Months from Start to Launch: The Story of One Church Plant

We have had an incredible journey these last five years as a new church. God continues to amaze us. I am consistently asked the story of starting Grace Community Church. Specifically other planters want to know what we did prior to launch. I’ve been asked enough that I thought it was worth sharing here.

The vision for Grace was placed on my heart 10 years before this process began, so we either had a head start or we were behind the curve; however you look at it. There were three of us sharing the vision, but the other two moved and I wasn’t in full-time ministry at the time, so the dream basically died…at least to me.

That’s when our timeline began in May of 2004:

May – I had an almost prophetic encounter with another pastor who encouraged me to revive the 10 year dream God had placed on my heart.

May-June: I took about 6 weeks to pray…

July: Approached my co-pastor to see his interest (He wasn’t interested at the time.)

July-August: I kept praying during these months for clarity…

September – My co-pastor and I started dreaming together, he wasn’t completely on board yet, but he was willing to see what God wanted to do…

Oct-Dec – I personally met with potential core members to share the vision, while my co-pastor and I kept shaping the vision…

Jan – Feb – Core pastor agrees to be a part…we invited potential core team to an organizational meeting, committed core to vision, solidified core…

March – June – Core learnings – The core team divided responsibilities, then traveled to different churches, learning all they could about what a successful church might include.

July – Core Training – We met to make clear our vision and primary strategy.

August – Practice/Preview services – With these services, although we didn’t promote them, we invited anyone who wanted to attend.

September 11, 2005 – Launch church – The rest is our history post-launch…

That’s our timeline. How does that compare to your church plant?

Any questions? Please ask.

Friday Discussion: Spiritual Growth

It’s Friday discussion time!

Let’s discuss spiritual growth…specifically yours.

I’m always interested in spiritual growth, because…well…that’s kind of what I do!

Help me by telling me some of your spiritual growth process.

To help you think, consider answering some or all of these questions:

  • Are you closer to God today than you were a year ago?
  • If not, what changed?
  • Is yes, what did you do differently?
  • What helps you most to grow spiritually?
  • Was there a time in your life where you felt the closest to God?
  • Who is mostly responsible, in your opinion, for your spiritual growth?
  • Do you practice any spiritual disciplines, such as Bible reading, prayer, fasting, tithing, etc.? If so, what do you do?
  • What changes would you need to make to grow more spiritually?

Help me out…tell me about your spiritual growth…

Discuss…engage…Go!

The Life of an Idea on a Healthy Team

Healthy teams allow every idea a chance to live…

The healthiest teams don’t contain an idea killer…

Healthy teams:

  • Brainstorm
  • Analyze
  • Test drive
  • Push back
  • Critique
  • Debate
  • Challenge

Every idea…

But healthy teams remain open-minded about an idea until it’s proven to be a bad idea…

It could be a short process or a long process…

But healthy teams give every idea a chance to live…

Knowing that…

There is value in the collection of ideas on a healthy team…

And…

Some of the best ideas are killed before they have a chance to shine…

Have you ever worked with an idea killer?

Are you one?

(This post contains a main idea…feel free to Brainstorm, Analyze, Test drive, Push back, Critique, Debate, or Challenge.)

A Much Needed Encouragement for the Pastor

It’s Monday morning…

I have spoken with many pastors who share a common struggle with each other. If it was a good Sunday…one where God’s Spirit was at work…during the 24-hour period from Sunday noon and Monday noon…they face doubt and frustration.

Yesterday was one of those days for me. I knew I was speaking truth. I knew God was working, but I was teaching on God’s purposes for marriage to many who are undergoing tough times in their own marriages. It was difficult and I felt as though I was adding insult to injury to many. I left feeling down and I allowed the enemy to discourage me.

I am blessed to have several in our church sensitive to this issue…or sensitive to God’s Spirit in their own life. Yesterday afternoon I received this email from someone in our church:

Ron,

I cannot imagine how tough it had to be to deliver today’s (that desperately needed to be done) message. Thank you for being God’s “Good and Faithful Servant”. I feel as though you will (or may have already been) challenged and attacked for speaking the Truth!

Just want to remind you that the people that might not have liked it, needed to hear it the most! You know how the Devil gets when you hit a nerve. You get my vote for delivering a very difficult message that needed to be delivered.

Love you Brother!
Jay

I’m not too proud to say I needed this email. The stress of ministry is huge at times and I’m thankful for those who serve the body by building up others.

I received my encouragement this week, so I’m good.

Do you need to encourage your pastor this morning?

Scripture Memorization, Week 10

Here is this week’s memory verse:

I wonder if we thought about this verse this week, instead about what we do or don’t do as believers, if we’d feel better about our walk with Christ and more willing to follow Him wherever He leads. I have a feeling it would free us from some legalism and help us live by grace.

What do you think?

3 Places to Find New Leaders

I was working with a church recently that is facing a growth barrier. They have experienced rapid growth and now the staff is stretched beyond what they can do. There are holes of responsibilities not being filled. My opinion…and they agree…is that they can’t continue growing unless something changes.

The “genius” suggestion I gave them is that they must rise up new leaders, empower them with authority, and spread the load of responsibility. The obvious question: Where do we find these people?

Great question!

I suggested they look for three types of people:

People who are currently “doing” who need to be leading. These are people who are consistently serving. They are the reliable ones you couldn’t do without. They have been given responsibility, but never been tapped for authority. Not all “doers” have the capability of being leaders, but many do if given the opportunity.

People serving in one area, who could lead in another area. These are people who are serving in the children’s ministry, for example, who could be leading in the parking ministry…or vice-versa. Many times people are serving in one area, because there is a need, but they could easily be stellar leaders in another area.

People leading outside the church. There are often people in the church who are tremendous leaders in the secular world, but they’ve never been given an opportunity to lead in the church.

People come to your church and see things working. They don’t know you need help, because everything appears to be working. There doesn’t seem to be a place for them. In my experience, you’ll have to ask the best leaders to join your team.

How do you find new leaders?  What would you add to my list?

Silence Can Be Deadly

You’ve heard silence is golden…and that’s true…

…but sometimes silence can also be deadly…

Especially in a team environment…organizational structure…relationship setting…

When working on a project, implementing change, planning for the future…

Keep people updated with what you know…

Even if you don’t have all the answers…

When people don’t have information, they tend to invent their own scenarios…

Silence can fuel rumors…

Fear, tension, and frustrations rise…

Those invested often become discouraged…

Morale is injured and enthusiasm wanes…

All emotionally driven reactions fueled by the unknown…

People will be more patient if they receive adequate communication while they wait for the final details…

If you want to keep progress moving forward…

Break the silence and share information, as you know it…

Have you experienced the pain of silence in a team, organizational, or relationship setting?

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