Those are two subjects every pastor and his wife face. Whether it’s a misunderstanding among church members, a misconception from a guest, or a disagreement with the programming of the church, those of us in ministry leadership manage disgruntled people and grievances on a regular basis. In addition, we counsel countless people through their own quarrels and squabbles.
In short, we better have a clear understanding on conflict resolution and peace making.
But, sometimes we come up short, don’t we? At times, it becomes personal. Our emotions come into play and it is difficult to see another person’s perspective. Oh sure, it’s easy when we’re advising someone else on their issues. But, responding when we’re the ones feeling attacked? Well, that’s when the rubber meets the road, isn’t it?
I recently received an email from a pastor’s wife seeking advice for a misunderstanding in her church. She described an angry email from someone who had recently attended her church. The email depicted the people of the church as unloving and not compassionate. It turned out that the writer of the email was not only a visitor of the church, but also the sister of a church member who often expresses her own negative views.
Needless to say, my friend disagreed with what she read. She knows her church to be considerate and helpful….not at all the description of the email. Her dilemma, however, was how to respond. Defend her church in a quick reply? Make a phone call? Schedule a meeting? Or, ignore the email altogether?
Sound familiar? Have you dealt with similar situations in leadership? I bet you have. Whether the issue is monumental or inconsequential, our responses matter. So, I shared my thoughts with this fellow pastor’s wife….and I’ll share them with you, too, tomorrow.
In the meantime, I’d like to hear what you’d advise. What would you suggest our friend in leadership do – respond or ignore? Maybe we’ll assist each other in the process for the next bout of conflict or criticism WE face.
So, let’s hear it? WHAT WOULD YOU DO?