Yes…I deal with people. Sometimes I don’t like dealing with people. This is why Staff is so important to have. At times I will let my Staff put up with people so I don’t have to. But there are times that the leader of the organization has to take the bull by the horns and just say and do what is necessary to get things done and finished. It doesn’t matter who the other person is either. They may be wealthy or they may be poor, they may be this color or that color, they may be demanding or they may be congenial, they may be complaining or they may be conniving. Whatever the case is, sometimes as a leader you just have to deal with people and say no to them.
There is a difference in dealing with people and working with people. The difference is that when you deal with people it carries with it a negative connotation. When you work with people it carries a positive connotation. The negative side is that the other person is causing problems, creating issues, or just being a jerk about not getting their own way. The flip side to that is that people are willing to come to your side, see the God-given vision that God has given you, and are willing to work with you to see the vision accomplished. It’s that simple!
Now when someone attempts to create or cause issues in the organization, the leader needs to simply say, “No, I will not allow it to happen that way.” This includes the leadership of churches. Sometimes the Pastor of a church has to say no, even as much as he wants to say yes to accommodate the parishioners. However, he also has to look out for the best interests of the church from the word go! The Pastor has not the benefit of changing something just to change something to meet the needs of an outsider–someone who is not even a member of the church or someone whom they simply do not know.
In my case, I have said yes to many different things over a thirty-four year ministry, but I have also learned how to say no to things that will not benefit the church or the ministry of the church but will rather harm the church. People don’t generally understand this. They expect for me as a Pastor–yay, as a Christian–to simply roll over and do whatever they want me to do. Let me make this perfectly clear: I do not roll over for anyone unless the Lord urges me to do what they want because what they want is what God wants and He reveals that to me. And there are times that people want to do certain things in the church like they do for their business that will not work in the church. Or they want me to do something in the church like what they do for the civic club or social club or horse club or whatever other kind of club of which they are a part. But if these things are not the will of God according to the Scriptures for the church, I certainly am not obligated to take the suggestion and do it.
So why am I writing this today? Well, it’s just something that is on my mind. I know what goes on in the church that I pastor. I know that there are some who would like to see things happen according to their wishes and wills. As the pastor, I cannot let that happen. I am not doing everything that I wish we could do nor am I willing things to happen in my own stead. I have the stark responsibility as the Pastor of this church to do what God has called me to do: nothing more and nothing less! This means that I will not always do what people want me to do. I have to be obedient to the Lord, not to others. I have to honor the Lord and I honor the people by honoring Him.
Now I know that this is a difficult thing for people to understand. How do I know? Because there is dissension in the churches that I have served over the last thirty-four years. I see it, I hear it, and I know who the problem-makers are and who the problem-solvers are. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who these people are. They make themselves known by the fruit that they bear and by the backbiting or the building up that they do. Others are well aware of who the problem-makers and problem-solvers are as well. It’s beyond me that people think that they fly so low under the radar that no one will notice what they do. Let me say this as clearly as I can: People see you, hear you, and know you. They know where you are in problem-making and problem-solving. Do you think people around you just fell off a turnip truck yesterday? May it never be!
At any rate, people also know when there is ignorance and stupidity involved in what we do as people. Ignorance is the state or fact of having a lack of knowledge, education, or awareness. Stupidity is to be slow of mind: obtuse; given to unintelligent decisions or acts: acting in an unintelligent or careless manner; lacking intelligence or reason: brutish. It is evident that these two words are similar, but they are different. Ignorance just means that you don’t know while stupidity means that you do know but are careless. I am not careless nor do I make stupid decisions (for the most part!!!). This means that I take into consideration everything that people suggest to me but that does not mean that just because I take their words into consideration that I believe that the suggestion or what they are saying is something wise. On the contrary, I have to weigh every decision for the church according to the Bible–God’s holy Word and will for us.
So I typed the last paragraph to let people know that I deal with people: these are the ones who I would take as being careless, those who have in their minds their own preferences instead of looking out for the preferences of others, or those who are simply making stupid decisions and suggestions. I would rather people really prayerfully think through what they say to others and how they say it to others. I can put up with ignorance and help others to be educated about things that I am able to teach or know to be true, but I cannot teach or help someone who is stupid.
I know I need to change the way I say and do things as well. I’m not immune not only to being ignorant but also stupid at times. At times people have to deal with me just like have to deal with others. But let’s consider this one thing:
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men (Romans 12:18).
This is not stupid. It’s just too bad that too many people are ignorant of this verse…and too many are stupid about this verse and still try to do it their own way.