How do you get along with people, repair relationships, and generally keep the church on a straight path?
The pastor who can do that will be both rich and famous–oh, wait, that won’t work, he’s a pastor :).
Maybe you won’t be rich and famous, but you can help the people of God to work together and accept one another in spite of flaws and quirks.
Two years ago, First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, honored me with a way over the top celebration of my twenty years as pastor. At the conclusion of the celebration, I stood before the congregation speechless. But since I had to say something. This is what I said: “I have been able to stay at the same church for twenty years because you have put up with my flaws.”
That, of course, is a true statement. The only way that a church stays together is because we bear with one another. Marriages work that way. So do business partnerships.
Could I give you another suggestion? When the inevitable time comes that you have to repair relationships, confront the problem and love the people. We usually talk about confronting people but that way of dealing with the issue may create more issues. The better way is to confront the issue. Most people can handle an issue, it’s the personality that becomes a problem. By confronting the issue rather than the personality, we preserve friendships and establish solid relationships.
Here is my favorite way of dealing with a problem of relationships. When I have to confront a problem, I always begin with these words. They are true words. They come from the bottom of my heart. I certainly don’t mind your knowing these words. I’ll let “Waylon” be the person that I am talking with.
Waylon, I feel like we have a problem, and I don’t want us to have problems. I want us to be the good friends we have always been.
Those are the soft words that turn away wrath. I’ve found that it is hard for even the most difficult person to react wrongly when he knows that I value our relationship and want to be friends. Reasonable people will respond by saying, I don’t want us to have problems either. I also value our friendship.
Having good relationships demand strong people with secure egos. When we go out of our way to preserve good relationships, we build up the body of Christ and help the world see the Savior. I hope that you will read how Paul helped restore Onesimus.
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