Each Thursday, I post “Ministry Inside” which is intended to be helpful to those who serve as pastors, ministers, elders, and church leaders in general. I suspect those who are not in these roles may find something here to either be interesting or helpful.
1. Do you tweet? Don’t underestimate the usefulness of this. The links that appear on Twitter (through “following” good people) have been enormously beneficial. I have become aware of numerous helpful articles and posts because of these links. Where do you start? Start by going to Twitter and signing up. Then begin “following” people who interest you and who have Twitter accounts. Look at whom they follow and you will often become aware of new possibilities.
2. One of the goals of conversation ought to be clarification. First, I want to gain clarity about what others are trying to say to me. When I am talking with one of our elders or a new member, I may hear something that immediately registers a certain emotion. For example, a new member may say something to me and I may immediately feel defensive. Or, an elder or longtime church member might say something and I may immediately feel frustration.
Ministers do well to be very intentional about seeking clarity with others. That means you will need to hold your opinion and your reaction while you first seek to really understand the person to whom you are talking. Now it is very easy to assume that you totally understand and to begin sharing your opinion (or even rebuttal). Yet, there really is something to be gained by actively seeking clarity.
Ask questions such as:
- So it sounds like you are saying you are feeling frustrated over the way the decision was made and that we used a process that was very unclear. Is that accurate? What did I miss?
- Can you walk me through the process of how you arrived at your conclusion?
- When did you arrive at this decision? How difficult was it to finally get to that place?
- What resources were especially helpful to you as you settled on this particular interpretation?
- I’m glad you could meet this afternoon. Could we take a moment to clarify why we are meeting today. What would you hope to accomplish? Or, what would make you feel really good about our time together?
3. I want to mention a few resources that you might find helpful as a minister/pastor/elder/church leader:
- Brandon Baker of Temple, Texas, has started an excellent blog, Practical Youth Ministry.
- Jordan Hubbard of Belton, Texas, has also started a very good blog, and you can read it here.
- Be sure to read Patrick Mitchel’s discussion of the tension between “Side A” and “Side B” of ministry. “Which side of Christian ministry are you on?” Interesting post and comments. The tension is very real. (His post was re-posted at Jesus Creed which you can find here.)