Your way is not the only way it can get done right #horstmans-laws.8

(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)

If you’re in gospel ministry, it’s easy to get into a way of thinking that the way you do things is the right way… the only way. And when someone comes up and suggests that there’s another way, and its worked for them in the past, we fall back on our “higher-wisdom” and declare they can’t know how it really is…

The funny thing is, much of the time, they’re thinking exactly the same thing… that you way is silly and they have the greater wisdom because they’ve seen it work somewhere else…

The practice of how you do things is important, but it’s really not that important. We like to think it is, but if the way we did things was really that important, God would have given us more clear guidance on the matter.

So, open your mind, lower you defences, and hear them out.

How you feel is your responsibility – not other peoples’ #horstmas-laws.7

(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)

Other people do not control how you feel. Other people do not make you feel angry, or feel mad, or even feel jealous or happy. Your feelings are exactly that… yours. You’ve produced those feelings. They are your responsibility.

Sure, other people might have behaved in certain ways which led to you producing those feelings. But they didn’t make you have those feelings.
This is something that Jesus models for us amazingly. He gets betrayed, abandoned, beaten, whipped, mocked, spat on and crucified. That’s what other people did to him. But Jesus knew he was responsible for his reactions. Jesus prayed for those crucifying him. He loved them.

Or to put it another way… it is possible — isn’t it — that you could respond differently? There’s no “only” response. There’s always a range of responses. Who determines which of those responses you are going to have?

You do.

So, when you’re shunned, ignored, attacked, verbally abused, accused… remember your immediate response is not the only (nor the best) response. There are other ways you can choose to respond.

Privacy, keeping secrets and keeping confidences in ministry #horstmans-laws.6

(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)
Sometimes the people of this world truly are better at dealing with their own kind than people in the kingdom (Lk 16). In the secular world, people know they need to be very careful with private or sensitive information. Though they do make mistakes, they are fully aware that other people will break confidences in terrible ways.
The trouble is that Christians seem to forget that other Christians still sin.
If you tell someone a little secret they’re not meant to tell anyone, you are burdening them with a load and a temptation. Why are you doing that? Why would you knowingly lead one of your fellow brothers or sisters into more temptation than they already feel?
If someone doesn’t need to know, then don’t tell them. Don’t tempt them with another sin!
But there is a flip side… If the information relates to a project or to the team. In those situations, you should be open and share it. Let others know… If you tell me something that’s going to have an effect on my team, I’m not going to keep it secret. I’m going to tell my team.
Because you don’t keep secrets from your team. Your team is the people you share your secrets with.

If humans are involved, it’s never going to be simple and straightforward #horstmans-laws.5

(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)
Systems are great. They help us to be clear in our own heads, teams, organisations. They stop things falling through the cracks.
Well, not really.
Something’s will always fall through the cracks. Something’s will always get missed, passed by, lost. Why? People. That’s why. People are not simple, and people are valuable.
See, it’s actually our view that people are valuable that means we can be “ok” when they don’t fit the system.
Stay cool. Listen to how they are different and just accept that people, as they have from the beginning, make things messy.

Why churches and businesses are not the same and why they are the same #horstmans-laws.4

(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)
Leadership is not the ability to control people. Because you can’t control people.
Some business (corporate) leaders think because they pay their people they should be able to control them – they think they should be able to specify outcomes.
In fact this isn’t just what some bosses think – it’s what some employees think too. They think they have to do what what their boss says because they’re paid.
But your boss doesn’t control your actions. You do.
Payment is just a motivator. It’s kinda’ like a bribe so that you’d be motivated to go to work rather than go to the beach.
So, in the end, employees and church volunteers are very similar. You can’t control either of them.
People’s actions flow from relationships and motivations – regardless of whether they come in the corporate world or church world.
The great reality is that Jesus’ death and life provides a motivation that outdoes any pay, position or person.

Don’t pretend there’s NOT an issue #horstmans-laws.3

(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)
People know when you’re faking it. They just do. If you think you’re that clever that you can pretend you don’t have an issue or a strong reaction to something, you’re either surrounded by the wrong people or you’ve lost connection with the real world.
If there’s any awkwardness, any hesitation in your gut, say so. Use that to your advantage, leverage it towards the hugeness of what you’re selling.
Paul says, “Who is competent for such a task?!?” He’s been through pain and struggle and even the church he’s writing to is shrugging him off… But he owns his frailty and anxiety, while also telling them he’s trusting in God.
Don’t try to fool people into your fake enthusiasm… It will only backfire. Bring them – with you – through your hesitations.

You haven’t communicated enough, yet #horstmans-laws.2

(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)
You could communicate more. Even if you feel you’ve already told them, even if you think they ought to know by now. It’s always, always, always better to risk over communication than risk under communication and all the risks that flow on from that.

Try this: ask yourself, “What if Person X actually hasn’t understood what I have been asking them/telling them? What might happen if they’re not thinking what I’m thinking?”

Yeah… That’s why you should just call and check, and communicate again.

The best use of your time is to invest in another person #horstmans-laws.1

(This is a series of reflections on Horstman’s Laws)

People are amazing. People, by the providence of God; decide, act, influence, dream, feel, speak, pray. And then, by the grace of God, Christians are used by him to usher people into Christ’s eternal kingdom.
Every hour that you invest in a person, encouraging them, challenging them, training them in godliness is not just an hour well spent. It’s an hour that echoes in eternity.

But even when you pull the context back from that eternal perspective, investing in people and relationships is the real ‘work’ of almost all modern ‘work’.
Think about the engineering student… They spend 4 years learning engineering, they spend 5-10 years doing engineering, but throughout that time, they spend less time doing actual engineering and more time managing people… Until they’re at the stage they don’t do any engineering and they only do management of fresh engineering students.
Every hour they spend developing a relationship on the way is a relationship they will use to get their new ‘work’ done.

Your work doesn’t matter, the people do, and if you didn’t realise it, the people are the work.