I was honored to speak on the "Revival" program this week. My topic to this good group of youth ministers was when you disagree with your leaders. When you in a matter of opinion or something you believe to be doctrinal see it differently and seem to hit an impasse - what do you do?
Here are my notes:
Let me let you in on a few little secrets -
1. You will! If you don’t one of you probably has no convictions, creativity or c at all. I don’t have anything for a person with no passion to fight for or no willingness to stand on something! 2. Elders don’t like to be surprised - I’ve never met an eldership that did. If they can say, “Yes, we knew this was going to be said, done, etc...” It is NOT always easier to get forgiveness than permission!!! I do’nt care what you’ve heard.
3. The church will outlast you: The congregation will not collapse without you. Dad taught me years ago that the church is bigger than any one person. Your job is not to lead a division - even if you believe you are correct.
4. You were neither commissioned by God nor ordained by the congregation to be the leader of that church.
5. Do your best to work together: Even if you see a matter differently strive to mutually show respect and do your best to not let one issue separate you. The Work we do seems to demand that.
- you could be wrong: If Godly men, men you agreed to work under and men you take a paycheck from with their signature and men who the church selected to lead see something differently than you do consider that 4 heads of spiritual men may, just may, be wiser than you. That’s easy as long as we agree, but then that is not really following either is it?
- you can be gracious without compromise. Practice a little “golden rule” here. How about presenting it Fairly?
- Your view - it’s strengths and weaknesses
- Other views within the scope of faithful brethren and their strengths and weaknesses
- when you are gone they will still be there. You know how the kid sometimes leave a mess behind on the church van/bus and YOU get to clean that up and how angry that makes you? On a much larger scale that is what is happening when you leave a mess behind for the elders or others to clean up. Take a loss, end up looking bad yourself but speak highly if at all possible of those you work with even if you end up disagreeing with them. And Work on influencing them.
- make sure the kingdom is worth sacrificing over this. Don’t invest $100 worth of energy into a $1 project. Good leaders pick their battles. Poor leaders enjoy picking a fight. Far too many battles have been rooted in someone’s pride instead of a worthy cause.
- Step back and attack it from a different vantage point: If the approach you’ve been taking isn’t working stop beating your head against the wall. Present it in a different way.
- Learn how each elder communicates: Few things will help you more than trying to learn this. Then communicate with each ones “needs.”
- be aware there may be more than meets the eye: Sometimes church leaders know something about a personality, a situation or a history that may affect how we feel about it.
- talk to them - don’t fight them. We are brethren trying to interpret the scriptures. Trying to see eye to eye. Trying to love each other. Trying to help God’s people grow. Stay on the same side - check it out - it works!
- Don’t be a hobbiest (know what that is?) back at FHU, old GA’s - “no hobby riders” - I thought it meant hobby horses :) It’s someone who gets on an issue and won’t let it go. It can happen to good men. Drop it!!! Ask yourself, is studying this matter occupying so much of my energy that I can’t reach out. There are things that are worth fighting for! But even on those issues we need to step back sometimes and see other things.
- Have some honest friends! Friends who will tell you you have gone overboard, too far, crazy, or that you are just wrong. And that when they do you know they love you and you won’t “unfriend” them.