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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

08 Nov '11

Deal with it!

It is an all too common scenario when consulting with churches or ministries. They have a problem with a staff member who does not belong or a member of the church who is behaving in ways that hurt the body and a leader says to me, "We should have dealt with this a long time ago." Had they done so they probably would not need someone to come in and help them with the fallout!


What happens when we put off dealing with issues? They don't go away - they simply become more difficult to deal with in the future. Take a staff member who does not fit the team. Whenever you deal with the situation there is fallout because all staff have a constituency. Don't deal with it when you should and that constituency just becomes stronger and the fallout worse when one is forced to finally deal with the inevitable. If that staff member is undermining the senior leader (yes it happens when people have their own agenda) the longer one waits the weaker the senior leader becomes.


Often leaders (pastors, elders, ministry leaders) put off dealing with the hard issues because they don't want to endure the pain that accompanies the addressing of the issue. Rather than settle for the short term pain that is followed by a far healthier culture they prolong their pain by not taking the action they know they should take. Their fear of the pain actually causes the ministry longer and deeper pain than if they had addressed the issue earlier. Sometimes to the chagrin of their successor, they simply leave the problem in place and force someone else to deal with it. Welcome to your new job :).


In the name of grace (and I am a great believer in grace) and conflict avoidance we often prolong the pain to an organization even when we know in our gut that no matter what we do, nothing is going to change. By choosing avoidance we put anchors on the ministry that keep dragging along the bottom, slowing everything down while we are trying to catch the wind and sail.  I have known pastors and leaders that could not let a staff member go even though they know in their heart of hearts that that member is hurting the rest of the team. I know leaders who would not deal with church thugs even though those individuals created chaos in the congregation. Avoidance does not work. It creates greater problems and pain and the longer one waits to address the problem the more difficult it is to do so.


The only good solution is to deal with it. Be smart and wise but deal with it.