Leadership is exhilarating, fulfilling, difficult and challenging. Leading in the context of ministry is even more demanding due to the spiritual implications. With all the beauty of ministry, I cringe each time I hear a leader say “Ministry would be great if it weren’t for the people.” Of course, they mention it in jest, but this dangerous foothold of a statement erodes a heart for the very people God has called them to love.
I’ve said those words… my heart was stone cold and rock hard.
The context in which most of those statements are made is conflict; a crisis moment where one or more people have a differing opinion with the leader. So what do you do?
Consider Care-Fronting rather than confronting. Here are 4 keys to do so:
1. Filter your shepherding and pastoral care through the lens of biblical relationship. Think “We are brother/sister in Christ” instead of “I’m the leader, you’re the follower.”
2. Pull back, not away. When our emotions fuel our actions they tend to cause us to run away. Sometimes initially; other times after we’ve thrown our agenda at the other person. Pulling away causes more pain and resentment. Pulling back requires you to take an eternal perspective while facing the issues.
3. Remember what’s at stake. HINT: It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the One you represent. The reputation of Jesus Christ is on display through your words and actions.
4. Pray. Not your Sunday morning, “leading others in prayer!” But your “this is my heart’s hurt” prayer. Reach for the speck in your eye. You can’t see how truly big it is. The pain of a speck or a log still hurts and everyone has something in their eye.
There they are: 4 Keys to Care-Fronting in a Confrontational World.
How will you put these into practice?
May God strengthen your resolve to do so.