Every church revitalizer has individuals within their congregation that are at times abrasive to others within the church. Though these individuals are somewhat relationally out of step with the larger niche of the congregation, they are still everyday people that Jesus died for and we ought to love and minister to each of them!
It has been said that these individuals fall into two basic categories: those who are the passives and those who are the aggressives. The aggressives are those who seek to control and often include people who are hostile or part of a clique. On the other hand, the passives usually include those who are apathetic, lonely, or keepers of traditions that are being erased. Two features need to be understood with these personalities. The aggressives try to dominate the agenda of a local congregation while the passives place a potential drag on the mission and momentum of the renewing church.
Here is a simple strategy for coping with these difficult personality types:
Pinpoint the real problem.
What exactly is the issue that is calling out the controller or controllers and creating the tension in the local church?
Bless be the ties or not.
Consider how strong are the ties between the controllers and the leadership of the local church.
Count the costs up or down.
Count the negative costs of behavior within the local church. Can the actions of these controllers be ignored, or must they be confronted?
Seek God’s solution first.
What are the options available for dealing with controlling personalities.
Is there a Win-Win?
Can a solution and agreement be reached that will allow the local church to advance toward its ultimate mission?
Have the meetings before the meetings.
Work behind the scenes in one on one meetings, so that the local church is spared unnecessary strife.
Love is the antidote.
Use God’s love as an antidote for controlling behavior. Remember that love also includes firmness.
Sometimes as a church revitalizer while you are dealing with individuals you will have a difficult staff member that will call for some staff follow-up in the arena of performance counseling. Remember to use the counseling module and document the meeting. Special work related counseling is usually required whenever:
Ministry performance is lacking in some way
You want to get their opinion about something
You think you can help them go on to a higher level of ministry achievement
You desire to review a past action or project as a point of learning experience
You want to offer advise about the future in an effort to help a staff member
There is evidence of a problem of some sort
Any other reason you may have for communicating with someone you work with privately
While some church revitalizers believe that they can ad-lib a counseling session that is usually a big mistake! Depending on the purpose, you should clearly lay out what you want to discuss, and what questions you want to ask before the session. You should be ready to answer all questions in a concise manner. Asking questions yourself also will help you get a grasp on the situation. Here are a few questions that might help you in these type of counseling sessions from time to time:
What aspects of this ministry do you like the most?
What areas of ministry and day to day work bother you the most?
What are your ideas for improving the day to day functions of the ministry here?
Are there any policies, procedures, tactics, subordinate ministry organizations, systems, that you feel we should prayerfully consider closing down or eliminating?
Have you thought about a schedule for this and if so would you feel safe in sharing it with me confidentially?