It’s All About Relationships

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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I have been a minister for 22 years. I went to seminary, where I learned theology and Biblical backgrounds and various other things that I've needed to be a good proclaimer and prophet. But nothing could have prepared me for the hardest part of ministry - relationships. Ministers learn relationship skills on the job. There is no other way. There are no shortcuts. Human spirituality is a passionate subject, and emotions run high when it comes to religion. Ministers find themselves at the center of hundreds of complex relationship transactions. A minister had better become very adept at being in relationships with people, or he or she is bound for serious trouble. One of our faith bloggers, Blake Coffee, often has wise words for church health. He recently reviewed the movie Doubt, and used the film to offer some relationship tips for ministers. I found his words to be very wise indeed.

1. Live above the appearance of impropriety. Go out of your way to make sure you are not misunderstood in matters of moral uprightness. In everything, pay attention to how your church might perceive circumstances. Take practical precautions, like putting a window in your office door so that people can always see in, and making all matters of church finances open and out on the table, and avoiding gossip at all costs, etc. If you are in ministry, you live in a fish bowl. Get used to it. 2. Form genuine friendships with all of your leadership. This is huge. There simply can be no leader in the church, no person of influence, with whom you have little or no genuine friendship. If you are not good at relationships, if you are feeling ill-equipped at forging new friendships with people with whom you have little in common, then one of two things is true: (1) you are not called to this ministry, or (2) you are about to undergo a profound change in order to be equipped for these friendships. There are no exceptions to this. I promise. 3. Get help sooner rather than later. As a church mediator/interventionist, by the time I get called into a conflict, it is usually too late to bring reconciliation in a way that will save both the church and the ministry of the person at issue. Of the few occasions I actually got to walk with a church early in the conflict, most of the time we actually moved through it in a redemptive, God-honoring, truthful way. It almost always helps to have a person outside the circumstances to help both “sides” keep an objective perspective on the issue.... READ MORE