Dealing With The Critic and Those Who Have Wounded You

Dealing With The Critic and Those Who Have Wounded You

If you’re leading people, you will have critics. To clarify, constructive criticism is our friend and we should welcome it. What I am speaking of, is NOT constructive criticism. I am talking about the critic. The one who feels compelled to plays devil’s advocate. By the way, if you are playing the devil’s advocate that should be a telltale sign you’re not as helpful as you think and an indicator of what team you’re on. The critic is never hard to find. They are typically holding a glass that is half empty and their faces look as if they have been sucking on lemons.

One of the finest leaders of the Old Testament is Nehemiah. This guy was hammered by his critics! Chapter after chapter of this book we see the critic doing anything and everything to stop the progress of the intended mission.

The book of Nehemiah is proof that the critic has a plethora of tools to distract and discourage. In chapter 6 verse 17 we see the critic reaching into his tool belt, pulling out pen and paper and dispensing criticism by letter.

The trading of letters between Tobiah and the Jewish nobles is a trading of intelligence. Nehemiah is dealing with betrayal and deception. The intent of the letter is raise questions about his leadership and minimize Nehemiah’s influence. Ultimately, to stop the good work being done.

If you have ever had someone write something about you that was not true you understand the pain this must have caused Nehemiah. Nehemiah has been slandered to thousands of people and it has caused even some of those he leads to question him and the mission. So, what do we do when the critics or those who have wounded us seem to be making progress. First let’s start what not to do.

Five ungodly ways to respond to the those who have wounded you:
1. Fear. You begin to expect the worst in all people. You are now on the lookout for betrayal.
2. Withhold. We refuse to deal with the person that hurt us. We forgot the grace we have received and no longer extend grace.
3. Retaliate. You start using divisive words. You clearly want the person to know that you are hurt, and your intention is now to hurt them back.  It’s “hurt people hurt people” syndrome.
4. Doubt. How could God allow this to happen to me.
5. No wrestling. Never wrestle with a pig. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.

Five Godly ways to respond to those who have wounded you:
1. Pray. Nehemiah’s journey started back in Chapter 2:4 “So I prayed.”
2. Look to the word of God.  Remember when God calls you to a job site, He will ensure you complete it, according to Philippians 1:6.
3. Consider the source. If it’s a brother in Christ, Matthew 18 says “Go to your brother.”
4. Do what Jesus did. When Jesus was betrayed he responded by going to the father. The result was grace. Remember the cross when Jesus said “Forgive them father for they know not what they do.”
5. Make God the object of your affections. Don’t make the person who wounded you the place where your mind dwells. Instead be like Jesus and make God the object of your affections.

When we take a stand for the things of God and place ourselves in His will and are on mission, we should expect to be buffeted from the outside and the inside. When the critics revolt against you and the battle gets hard, remember that when you are weary and the knees are wobbly cry out to God and He will sustain you!

See you at the finish line!

Charlie

How to Handle a Mean Spirited Email

How to Handle a Mean Spirited Email

As a Pastor, I have had my fair share of emails that speak to one’s displeasure. I have had to learn from many failures, that what I say matters to God. Will I choose to show grace and humility or feel the need to fire back because of my insecurity?

Conflict is always an opportunity to glorify God. As I shared during my teaching a few Sundays ago https://vimeo.com/250061220 our walks with Jesus are often messy. What I love about messy is a good shower can make you clean. Shower in the grace of Jesus. Shower in the grace of the one who did not feel the need to defend himself. Remember, God goes before you. God will defend you. May this article by Dan Reiland “How to Handle a Mean Spirited Email” support you as we all continue to grow in our walks with Jesus.

http://danreiland.com/how-to-handle-mean-spirited-email/?utm_source=DanReiland.com&utm_campaign=8db79a5e19-Dan+Reiland+Subscriber+Emails&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_094f9b27bb-8db79a5e19-59172849

Remember who you represent. So rep well dear ones!

Charlie

How do You Know When it’s Time to Give Someone a Leadership Role?

How do You Know When it’s Time to Give Someone a Leadership Role?

This is such a loaded question, and one could write a treatise on the subject. However, for the sake of simplicity, allow me to create a scenario to better drive home my point and support you in the question of “How do you know when it’s time to give someone a leadership role?”

Let’s assume this is a candidate that is already active in the organization. Let’s begin this process of finding out if someone is ready for a leadership role by asking yourself a handful of questions to see if you and the organization are ready to support the candidate.  

Questions to Ask Yourself

  • What is the role written down in the form of a job description?
  • Is that job description clear?
  • Does this new job allow the potential new person an opportunity to be less than perfect?
  • Are you confident in the ability of the person who will be coming on board?
  • Will there be follow up training?
  • What is the target and how will the new person know if they are hitting, or not hitting, the target?

Since we have already identified that person is already in the organization, having a conversation (or two) with the current direct report is a must. Ask questions such as:

Questions to Ask the Direct Report

  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rank this person’s work ethic?
  • Does the person finish projects on time?
  • How often do personal issues come up?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how does this person handle conflict? (ask for specifics)
  • On a scale of 1-10, is this person a team player?
  • What project did the person work on that most excited him/her?
  • What project did this person work on that caused frustration?
  • Which best describes this person, humble or arrogant?
  • Is this person hungry?
  • Is this person smart?
  • Have you ever seen this person act in humility? (ask for specifics)
  • Have you ever seen this person act arrogantly? (ask for specifics)
  • What do I need to know about this person?
  • Would you hire this person again?

Asking questions takes time, if you ask these questions it will take you about 30 minutes, however, request one hour to go through all the questions as you do not want to rush. 

Be all in, be present 

Be engaged when asking the questions and be ready to listen intently to what is being said. Pay attention to the body language and the tone of one’s voice as you wait for a response to your questions. You must be engaged in the conversation, so consider removing all distractions, including all electronic devices. 

These questions will better prepare you to meet with the potential candidate and allow your conversation with the candidate to be fluid. You will also be able to take a deeper dive on some of the questions you need clarification on, so take good notes.

So how do you know when it’s time to give someone a leadership role?

Here are 10 characteristics that I look for before promoting a candidate: 

  1. They are punctual. Show up on time.
  2. Faithful with what they already have. 
  3. They are able to submit to authority
  4. Gracious, not combative
  5. Self-starter
  6. People are already following them
  7. Good listener
  8. Takes responsibility for actions
  9. Cool under pressure
  10. They ask questions, not make statements 

Summing it up

This list is not exhaustive, there are other things that are important to me, however, it’s a list. It’s on paper. I know what I am looking for. Do you? Write it down. Create your own list of the characteristics you are looking for.

Be patient as you dialogue with the candidate’s direct report. Get clarity on questions that need more insight. Ask around. Who else in the organization can better help you to get a pulse on whether this person is the right fit? The candidate need not be perfect. Perhaps you are the person God will use to develop this person. That’s the beautiful thing about leadership, we get the privilege of coming alongside people and helping them to develop and become leaders. 

Pulling for you!

Charlie Moulton

Confessions of an Arrogant Preacher

Confessions of an Arrogant Preacher

Recently I was asked to do a lecture at a Christian university.  The class was students comprised of men who were training to go into the ministry. As I put the finishing touches on the lecture I opened it up to questions.

The questions were all over the map. Everything from sexual purity, how long does it take to prepare a sermon, to life balance, you get the idea. However, there was one question that stood out and pricked my soul. My prayer is that it also pricked those that were listening then and reading now.

The question was actually simplistic in nature. It was as follows:

“Pastor, how has your preaching changed or what is different about your preaching now since you first started out?”

I looked that young man in the eye and said, “Son, when I first started out I was arrogant and did not even know it. I thought I had to win every battle that came across my desk. I have now learned that I no longer need to win the battle as I am more concerned about the war.”

To be arrogant is to feel superior, to have a need to be right, or put other people’s noses in it. The actual definition is: having or revealing an exaggerated sense of one’s own importance or abilities. That was me!

You see, I was more interested in my pet doctrines than I was for the lost. I was more interested in speaking than listening. My library of books consisted of those who only thought like me. My circle of friends mirrored my thoughts.

Then I remembered why Jesus came. He came to seek and save the Lost. He came to bear witness to the truth. Jesus was a man on a mission. He loved the sheep. Even the smelly, nippy little sheep. Sheep bite you know!

Faithful Pastors are shepherds, certainly not perfect but they are to care for the flock entrusted to them. John 10:11 tells us, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

I heard Pastor Johnny Hunt say that “Shepherds need to smell like sheep.” And tenure has taught me that you don’t choose your sheep, God does. They come in all sizes and shapes and, believe me buddy, some of them sheep will test you, pull you, and some may even curse you! You are called to love them anyway. I now love my sheep and consider it pure joy to be their Shepherded.

Allow the words of Charles Hodge to help you as it did me. “The doctrines of Grace humble a man without degrading him and exalt a man without inflating him.”

Yes and Amen to that Brother Hodge. I NOW understand what you meant by that!

When the Sunday Morning Service Turns into a Train Wreck

When the Sunday Morning Service Turns into a Train Wreck

It was a Sunday morning service like no other. Everything that could go wrong went wrong. Don’t think for a moment that I am exaggerating. For example, the audio team could not get the squeaking and feedback corrected.

The worship team took a new song out of the oven before it was fully cooked. The congregation was as lost as a ball in the tall Alabama weeds trying to learn the song.

The guy doing the announcements was having a bad day and appeared to have the love and compassion of Osama Bin Laden.

I also contributed, getting lost in my sermon notes 3 different times and going on to preach my longest sermon of the year. Not my best to say the least.

At lunch, I remember looking at my wife and saying the following words: “That was the worst service we ever had, what a train wreck.”

So how do you rebound from a service that really is a train wreck?

Here are 10 things to do:

  1. Learn from it.
  2. Talk about it. Laugh! The fact that anyone comes back the following week is proof of God’s sovereignty.
  3. Get clear on what you want.
  4. Get clear on what you don’t want.
  5. Be sure everyone on the team has the right tools to do the job. Ask, make sure!
  6. Remember God can change lives, even in so-called ‘train wrecks’.
  7. When in doubt, don’t tell them, show them. Model to your team what ‘good’ looks like.
  8. Re-evaluate if all team members are in the right spot. If not, make changes.
  9. Encourage your team.
  10. Ensure your team gets back on track immediately!

Social Media Strategy and Expectations for Key Leaders

Social Media Strategy and Expectations for Key Leaders

A famous author once said you can’t hit a target you can’t see. So what is the social media target you want your team to hit? If you don’t know, trust me they are hitting a target, just not likely the one you want them to hit.

You have likely already had to deal with the aftermath of an overzealous leader letting it rip in the Social Media stratosphere. If you haven’t, you will! Assuming, of course, you have no strategy in place.

Friend, you need to cover the topic of Social Media in your training as you would for any other important topic when processing a new employee or volunteer. The reason, to protect the reputation of your church and those who call the church home.  Unfortunately, it only takes one person to create the wrong kind of buzz and stir up the hornets’ nest.

When a team member lets loose on Social Media I think most of us can agree it causes more harm than good. Many times it causes dissension or division, and rarely do we see folks come to a blood stained cross!

So what do you want to see from your key leaders as it pertains to interacting on Social Media?  That is a question you need to ask and then place those thoughts on a sheet of paper.  If you find yourself with writer’s block, ask yourself what you don’t want to see and soon the words will start flowing.

You will quickly come up with your list. Let’s call that list your rough draft.  Get another set of eyeballs on your list. Ask a trusted team member or two what you may have missed. Continue to tweak until you have a written Social Media Strategy for Key Leaders.

Make it simple, for example here is what we want to see:

  • Be seen as a person who is gracious and kind
  • Celebrate what God is doing in your life or the church
  • Promote events; men’s, women’s, singles, guest speakers
  • Bible verses
  • Share resources that are approved by your church
  • Celebrate family moments. Bragging on your kids, wife, etc.
  • Encouraging others
  • Modeling Humility, Care, Love

Here is what we don’t want to see

  • Posting toxic or contentious topics
  • Crude jokes
  • Spilling your dirty laundry
  • Pictures of friends and family in bathing suits
  • Pictures of people partying
  • Responding to posts or going back and forth with others on a volatile subject

The lists are meant to get you thinking. You need to create lists that best serve your church.  The intent here is to have a standard and to have the Social Media conversation. Dealing with it on the front side may save you pain on the back side. Lastly, we are called to honor Christ in all that we do and that includes our conduct with Social Media.