It’s really important that we separate disagreeing from devaluing. Being disagreed with does not mean that we’re being devalued.
Just because my boss doesn’t agree with me, that doesn’t mean he devalues me. Just because a husband decides against his wife’s advice that doesn’t mean he devalues her. In fact, the Father doesn’t even devalue the divine Son when, after the Son says “take this cup from me”, the father implicitly says “no”.
The issue is that disagreement is something we can see, but devaluing is something we can’t see because it happens inside people’s hearts. We can’t see whether other people are devaluing us or not. Therefore, we should never accuse someone of devaluing us, because there’s no way of proving it. You can ask them, but that’s all you can do.
If they say, “No way!! I totally value you. I just don’t agree with you on this point” then you have to take their word for it. That also means we should attempt to stop feeling devalued because that feeling isn’t based on anything real, we’ve just been disagreed with.
People often get these two categories mixed up. Resources and Needs.
That is, they’ll see a church that doesn’t have many resources; it doesn’t have a youth worker, it doesn’t have many staff, it doesn’t have growth group leaders; scripture teachers, etc… and they’ll think that means that church has a huge NEED. In other words, what they mean is, that church NEEDS a youth worker, staff, group leaders, scripture teachers, etc.
Now, that church could probably use those things, but they are not NEEDS. They are simply STRUCTURES.
How do you determine a churches NEEDS? Look at the number of people in it. They are the NEEDS.
The larger the church, the greater the needs.
Gossip isn’t simply when “other people” talk about you. That’s fine. Rather, gossip is when other people talk about you in damaging ways… when they talk to other people about your intentions, your motives. Or putting it the other way around, gossip is when you talk to someone about how another person is mean/awful/untrustworthy.
You could say those things to their face, and that would be bad enough since you’re attributing motives… you’re assuming to know their heart (which only God can).
What makes gossip worse is that the person you’re talking about isn’t even there. They can’t defend themselves; they have no voice, they are helpless and weak in the face of such an attack.
So defend the weak and those without a voice.
Stop other people gossiping. Ask people to stop when they start saying unkind things about someone not present.
If you’re meeting up with someone, or you’ve been approached by someone, there’s a question you need to ask pretty regularly…
“Is there something else you’d like to raise?”
“Was there anything else you wanted to chat about?”
“Is there anything else on your mind?”
Or even… “I get the feeling there’s something else you’d like to chat about; what’s up?”
They want to talk to you, but they feel like there’s never a good moment, or opportunity. Go give them one.
Is something your running working well? Is your church growing? Are people coming along? Are people growing?
Don’t be too quick to assume its your amazing programs. Don’t be too quick to claim that God is blessing you specially.
Sometimes, things just work for a certain group of people. Churches grow at 5% per year because their suburb is growing at 10% per year. Maybe people just like your style. Maybe the time your running works better for people.
Don’t be too quick to over-spiritualise growth. Certainly God’s hand is at work, but it could just simply be through the the basic principles of the world he’s created.
Most of the embarrassing situations you’ve been in have only been embarrassing because of what “you think” other people are “feeling”.
In other words, it’s only “assumed empathy” that makes things embarrassing. The fact you tripped up the stage is only a cause of embarrassment if you think other people will be imputing embarrassing feelings onto you. If you were totally convinced that no-one saw you, or that everyone thought you didn’t trip, would you be embarrassed?
The trick to dissolving an embarrassing situation is convincing other people that you’re not feeling embarrassed… to stop them feeling empathetically embarrassed on your behalf.
One way is to simply laugh it off. Another way is to tell them that your not embarrassed.
I do this with my stutter when preaching. I tell people that I’m not embarrassed about it, I make them feel at ease – not about my stutter – but about how I feel about having a stutter. Once they know that I’m really not embarrassed about it, neither are they.
Not every time, but sometimes, its really helpful to ask people to translate their feelings into numbers… just a simple scale of 1-10.
It’s great because it avoids too-positive and too-negative assumptions. When someone says, “Yeah, I’m ok” what do they really mean? Can you trust your gut to read their facial expressions and non-verbal cues? The fact is, I’ve been married for 14 years, and I still have trouble working out how “ok” Julie is when she says she’s “ok”. So how do you expect to know your staff, your members.
So ask them to put it on a scale… “1-10 How are you dealing with this? 1 being a complete mental breakdown, 10 being like you don’t even think about it?”
If their “ok” turns out to be a 3, you’re going to deal with them and help them very differently to if they’re a 7.
And the good thing is, there are loads of categories; how tired are you feeling? What’s your energy levels? etc..