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Monday, June 22, 2015

Trust and Communication

I just got back from a three and a half hour congregational meeting at our church.  There were a lot of exercised people there and they came prepared to speak to what was going on in the church.  Some quick background we have had three pastors in the church's 28 years.  We have been there for 18 of those years and have known, well, all three of the pastors.  Our leadership structure is called a leadership team for a specific reason about which I will not elaborate at this point.
Trust and Communication
For the past 16 months we have had a search committee looking for a new senior pastor.  In the past three weeks it has surfaced through a couple of letters from that team, as well as the meeting tonight that the leadership team has decided to take the church in a new direction.  Further it was announced that the founding pastor was being presented to the church as the new senior pastor.  He is to speak next weekend and then we are to vote as a congregation on the following Monday.

The confluence of changes did not go down well.  Especially to those in the body who do not know the founding pastor.  They felt like the team was forcing these changes down their throats.  Frankly, it did feel a bit like that.  The scenario reminded me of a maxim a football player involved in the Nav ministry at Western Kentucky University often said, “If you are not in on something, you are down on it.”  Many of the people in the congregation felt marginalized and excluded from a process that was going to, in their eyes, significantly impact the church they had come to love.  For them the perceived lack of communication broke trust.

First, being on that leadership team or search committee, is not – well let’s just say the pay is not worth the stress.  I know all of these people.  They are doing the absolute best they can with a whole heart.  But the challenge they faced and did not handle well was including those who had not gone through the process they had in a manner that would allow those to see their heart or the leading of God in the process.

The point in this is that there have been times in my life that the Lord has taken me through some lesson over a long time period.  It is difficult to communicate to one who has not experienced that with me what has transpired.  That is what happened tonight.  There is not an easy way to communicate how and why God has led you to someone who was not on that journey with you.

It was a learning experience for all involved.

2 comments:

  1. I certainly can relate to this matter. I've been on a search committee at a church and am now a part of a leadership team with the Navs in my country. I have also learnt the importance of building trust and value of clear communication. Being wired as ESTJ (Myers-Briggs), I tend to overlook other types of people, mostly those on the opposite side, for feelings oriented. What helps me to build trust and take time -- an Africaan proverb, "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."

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  2. Mike, thank you for sharing your insight. I think you identified accurately how some people were feeling during the meeting. Also, some of the answers give to to congregation members' questions were helpful, patient & the tone was kind. However at least one LT response came off as condescending / patronizing with a litt scolding thrown in for good measure, just to be sure we knew what we could & could NOT do. That response was NOT helpful for building good will and trust between members and the LT. Just my opinion.
    Konstantin, I will remember the proverb I find that very helpful!

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