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

Human Capital Development, Six Steps to Get You Started

Human Capital Development, Six Steps to Get You Started

If you are leading in any capacity, you would agree that developing your people is of vital importance. So, what is your plan? What strategy is in place to help your team move from where they are to where they need to be? Leadership development does not happen by accident it happens on purpose.

Most would agree that the type of people you want on your team will be looking for growth environments. If you are able to provide an environment where one can develop, you will start attracting the best and brightest.

You do not need to consult with McKinsey & Company to develop a state of the art training center. You may need to change your mindset from what you don’t have, to what you do have.  You can develop your team by spending time with your team. As you spend time investing into your people growth will follow. How do you start? What do you do? Pick one person, identify a mutual opportunity and follow these six steps.

Here are six steps to get you started.

  1. Tell them
  2. Show them
  3. Let them try
  4. Praise what they do well
  5. Redirect where they don’t
  6. Follow up, keep reinforcing 

It has been said that people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. As you invest your time into developing others you are making a statement that you care. Remember your team is not is interested in what you say, they are interested in what you do.

Leadership development is intentional. So be intentional, start with one person and place it on your calendar. Write the words, “Leadership Development” @ 2:00 with Sam. Feels good don’t it! Remember, what we value, we do. So, DO Leadership development!

Charlie Moulton

Embracing the Role of the Church

Embracing the Role of the Church

Hard to believe. But it’s true. I can’t sing. I remember first learning I couldn’t hold a tune. Charlie and I were in our early years of marriage when the sad truth was revealed to me. While at the end of a church service one Sunday, the announcement came for auditions for the worship team. I don’t know if he saw me lean forward with excitement or a smile came across my face, either way, I felt his hand on my shoulder when he leaned over and whispered, “Hun, you can’t sing.” Shock and disappointment went through my body.

What? How did I not know this? In my own mind and in my own wisdom, I could sing.

Much like my own blindness to singing, we as Christians can become spiritually blind to sin in our life. But God has lovingly provided a means for our protection against this danger and it comes in His design for the local church. The Christian life was never meant to be done alone but rather in the context and company of other believers. Ephesians 4:11-16

Left to ourselves, we can rationalize, justify, minimize and eventually become desensitized to sin. 1 John 1:8 sends a dire warning about self-deception, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” This same passage teaches us that a believer’s life is one characterized by ongoing fellowship with other believers, confession of sins and obedience to God.

We are naturally prone to see the good highlights of our lives and completely miss the areas that are self-focused and self-seeking. The Bible shows this pattern of blindness and self-deception: David needed Nathan to expose his sin (2 Sam. 12:7), Peter needed Paul to confront his sin of fear and exclusion (Gal. 2:11-12), and Euodia and Syntyche needed Paul to charge them to lay aside their differences and get back to work of the gospel (Phil. 4:2-3). We all need other Christians to help us to see ourselves clearly and to stay on mission.

The bible is written with an expectation that we, as Christians, will live in close community with one another. There are over 50 “one another” directives in the New Testament.

“…Love one another…” (John 13:34)

“…Serve one another …” (Galatians 5:13)

“…Forgiving each other…” (Ephesians 4:32)

“…Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)

“…Encourage each other…”(I Thessalonians 4:18)

“Confess your sins to each other…” (James 5:16)

“…Pray for each other.” (James 5:16)

Bottomline, we need one another to mature. This is God’s plan. A community gives us an environment in which to see the blind spots we otherwise wouldn’t see. It serves as a safeguard from self-deception and sin which can easily pull us away from the Lord.

Have you embraced God’s design and role of the local church in your life as a believer?
Settle in your heart that it’s God’s “protecting and growing” plan for you as a Christian. Then prayerfully seek out a discipleship or bible study group that will provide the community you need as a believer.

Let us endeavor to live out the gospel together and stay on mission for His glory.

Until the whole world hears,
Louise Moulton

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

Why I’m a Dodger Fan- Louise Moulton

Why I’m a Dodger Fan- Louise Moulton

In past years, I have found myself at ball games more for the social aspect of it than for the game itself.  Something about hot dogs, popcorn and sweets mixed with the company of friends and family has always been a fun combination for me, not so much the teams that were actually playing.

But lately my perspective on sports has changed because of my marriage.  The desire for an even closer friendship with my husband has been stirred up by the word of God through our recent Genesis study.   Seeing first hand in scripture that woman was made for man and that she was created to be his helper and a godly influence- has inspired me again (God’s word has a way of doing that!) to look for ways that I can be a better wife and friend to him.   After 26 years of marriage, I have learned that a close thriving relationship doesn’t happen without work and intention.

A few years ago, we redecorated our entire downstairs, changing colors, decor, etc.  The prior style wasn’t bad and it was fitting for that time of our life but as the season changed it was time for some redecorating to take place.  That’s a perfect picture of what I feel like God is doing with my role as a wife in my marriage right now.  Changes to how I approach my marriage and deepening our friendship is being redone.  My interest in sports and the desire to learn about the Dodgers is for the blessing of having another area of communication and connection with my husband.  Looking for new ways to connect and grow together in friendship allows me as a wife to cultivate a closer stronger partnership with my husband.

We have influence as wives to deepen our friendships with our husbands by entering their world.  What area might you become a better friend and broaden your area of communication? (This will be different for every marriage)

My prayer is that we would be wives who continually seek new opportunities to cultivate an even stronger, closer friendship with our spouses, so that God may be glorified in our marriages.

Louise

Genesis 2:18 
Then the LORD God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him a helper fit for him.”


Louise is the Women’s Ministry Director at Lakeshore City Church, 
wife to Charlie, mama to four and Nana to Haven and Kaiden. 

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

Can I get a church clap?

Can I get a church clap?

 

Pastors, such as myself, are not oblivious on how to get their church fired up with countless Amen’s and the occasional person shouting, “Preach it brother, preach!”  Here are a few ways to achieve this in my home church:

 

  • Say something positive about President Ronald Reagan. For some conservatives, Reagan should be part of the monument at Mt. Rushmore.
  • Say something negative about liberals.
  • With much bravado and intensity say something like, “We need to fight to keep prayers in our schools, let’s not let “them” take what is ours.” (Funny, call a prayer meeting at church and see who actually shows up.)

 

This is hardly articulate, I know, and perhaps a bit of hyperbole; however, I trust you get the gist of my approach here.

Pastor Jim Cymbala said something from the pulpit one time that floored me. He said, “I did not come here today to get amens, I have a bunch of those stored up from the last time I preached.” His point was, think about what gets you fired up and I did not come here for man’s approval.

Can I get real with you?   

What if your Pastor said Matthew 28 calls every single believer to make disciples. How are you doing with this mandate? Step right up, each one of you in the congregation, and give an account of who it is you are currently discipling. That’s right, step right up to the platform and provide names.

Ephesians 4:11-12 says that the church, the Christians, are to equip and train the other Christians to do the work of the ministry. How is that going for you today? Step right up and give an account. Who is it you’re training? Give me names.

I doubt the hallelujah choir would give you a church clap. They may, however, pick up a stone and hurl it at you. Now, I know we would never actually throw a stone, but we may consider getting into our cars after the service and say to our significant other things such as:

-That was a bit harsh and legalistic.

-It’s a busy season for me, but I am all over that once things slow down.

– That’s what we pay the pastor to do. It seems as if he is asking us to do his work.

-Maybe the Pastor woke up on the wrong side of the bed. He will go back to being normal next week.

 

The reality is each one of us will be held accountable to making disciples and training those same disciples for the work of the ministry. It has been said that disciples make disciples. Is that you? Are you making disciples? To bottom line this, if you’re in Christ and you’re NOT making disciples you need to start.

Here are ten things you can do to move toward obedience.

  1. Get discipled yourself and have the person discipling you train you on how to disciple as well.
  2. Be praying for a person or two that you can disciple. Ask God to reveal that person(s) to you.
  3. Have a plan? Time, Location, approved resource from your church.
  4. Have a prayer partner and mentor that will help you to develop as a leader/discipler.
  5. Select a resource that is gospel saturated and has questions to be answered at the end of short chapters. This is helpful to providing structure and guard rails.
  6. Start on time and finish on time. (My groups last one hour and fifteen minutes.)
  7. Allow ample time for questions, and not just questions about the resource.
  8. Be patient. It takes time for relationships to develop.
  9. Listen intently and take notes. The person you are discipling may need some help in certain areas, such as finance, sexual sin, anger, conversion, etc. Find and locate bible verses and articles that will support this person and, of course, begin teaching your disciple how to hunt and gather for himself.
  10. Thank God for the joy of being in gospel ministry. What a privilege it is to be used by God!

I like a good church clap just like the rest of us, however, better than a church clap is to hear the words of my Lord and Savior, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Faithful servants and faithful to the word of God, and the word of God is crystal clear as it says, “Go, and make disciples!”

Let’s Go!

Charlie Moulton

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.

Does Your Leadership Team Exercise Maturity While Using Social Media Platforms? Part 2

The story depicted in Part 1 of this blog post has become commonplace. Social media at one time was the darling of the church. It provided a helpful way to communicate with our church family and even allowed us to reach outside of the church community.

Countless churches have benefited a great deal from social media, seeing improved communication and reduced costs. Social media is simple and in most cases free, hence the reason why just about every evangelical church in America uses it.

So how do we ensure that social media continues to add value to the churches we serve and minimize the potential negative impact? It ultimately comes down to clearly articulating your social media strategy. Here are 5 simple steps to help your church to develop a Social Media Strategy.

 

  1. What does your church want to achieve by using Social Media?
  • Get some of your key leaders in a room with a whiteboard and spend 45 minutes going over what you want to see social media do for your ministry. Write everything down! Then distill that list down to 3-5 items.

 

  1. “We never want to see this!”
  • With those same leaders in the room, talk about what you don’t want to see on your social media pages. To get your mind going, think of what you have seen on other pages that was divisive or unhelpful. Write it down! What you don’t want will help get you closer to what you do want.

 

  1. Who currently has password access to Social Media at your church?
  • Take inventory of what team members are currently posting to your social media platforms. You may be surprised how many team members have logins and post sporadically.  If possible, keep the number limited to no more than two. Less is more and helps you to stay consistent and on message. Change your password if necessary!

 

  1. Expect unintended consequences.
  • For example, if you have agreed as a team not to use social media to post on hot topic issues such as Politics & Social Issues, many will be disappointed. Be patient with those who may not agree. Ensure they know you realize these topics are important and your church is committed to addressing them in different ways. Still, you need to learn how to say no to a lot of requests.

 

  1. Get Started
  • Your social media strategy can change but you must get started.  If you continue your ministry without a plan for social media you will likely pay a price. Again, get started!

 

Sample Social Media Strategy

  • We use Social Media to achieve the following 3 things:
    • Inform and communicate: what is going on in the church, upcoming events, dates, times, addresses, etc.
    • Celebrate wins: baptisms, pictures of women’s events, etc.
    • Paid advertisements which promote our church or events

 

Next Week’s Blog:

Social Media Strategy and Expectations for Key Leaders