Dan Reiland The Pastor's Coach – Developing Church Leaders

Category / Leadership

The quality and enduring nature of your relationships will make or break your leadership.

That axiom is true in every arena of leadership but especially so in the church.

When coaching a leader who’s in a difficult situation, I ask them a blunt question. “Do they like you?” The response is usually a startled, “What? What do you mean?” “I mean, do the people you work with like you?” 

That may seem overly simplistic to what is likely a complicated situation, but the answer has a significant influence on the outcome.

If the people you work with like you, the potential to work out the conflict or get through a difficult circumstance is high. If they don’t, you are traveling uphill for sure.

An important question is how much do you invest in relationships? It’s like putting money in the bank. The more you have invested, the greater the returns, and over time it’s compounding in your favor.

In contrast, if you relationally make more withdrawals than contributions, over time, the people you work with won’t want to work with you.

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If you are not clear about vision or direction, don’t panic, God is still with you.

This experience of being temporarily “in the wilderness” and you can’t see what’s next is more common than you might imagine.

The important thing is not to allow yourself or your team to settle in and accept it as “the way things are.”

The first thing to do is figure out the reason why.

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Have your volunteers returned?

As more of your congregation return to church, your need for quality and committed volunteers increases.

However, that might produce a unique kind of tension.

It’s good that people are coming back, and new people are coming, but my hunch is that some of your best volunteers haven’t returned yet.

Tension can increase at the thought of people returning to a sub-standard worship and ministry experience if you don’t have your full volunteer teams back.

You feel the pressure.

However, don’t pass that pressure on to your volunteers.

Guilt is not a good motivator; instead, invite them back to a big vision.

If a volunteer isn’t back yet because of heightened health risks, go slow and give them time. Pray for their health and encourage them.

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Life seems to be getter a little better; there’s more blue sky and optimism recently. That is so good!

But there is still a lingering edge.

I’m not expecting a magic solution to a major pandemic, but while the virus decreases, tension doesn’t seem to be falling accordingly.

The edge isn’t all about the pandemic, of course; COVID-19 just added fuel to the fire.

Why does healthy discussion seem to turn so quickly to hurtful division?

That’s a huge question with so many levels to it, and we see a wide range of divisions from personal relationships to politics.

Part of the reason for so much division is the elevation of fear, anxiety, and isolation. When people feel heightened levels of sustained pressure, they react in ways they normally would not react.

Added to that is the reality that life online has unleashed new habits of communication. It’s easy to argue online with someone you’ve never met.

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