J.S. Park

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Posts tagged with "leadership"

Hi! I am feeling discouraged. Today at a Christmas rehearsal I experienced a Pastor yelling at a Ministry Leader in front of everyone in the name of "excellence". I don't understand why Pastors feel like they have the authority to degrade a ministry leader. If its a bad example when a Christian is yelling at someone in public in the world, why would this be okay? Because I have served 2 well-known pastors for the past 10yrs and they have both yelled at leaders, its degrading I don't understand??

Anonymous

Hey my friend, I’m really sorry this happened to you today.  I’m also sorry because I used to be one of those guys, and I’m still regretting a thousand things I said in my early leadership that probably turned off many people in their faith.

I would very much consider talking to this pastor one-on-one and asking what’s going on with him.  Find out if he’s okay.  Ask him why he really yelled.  When most people lash out, especially leaders, there is usually something deeper going on with them than simply just the mess-ups in rehearsal. 

I know this sounds like you’re letting him off the hook: But Jesus calls us to the same grace that he’s shown us.  This includes showing a counter-intuitive grace even to leaders.  This means the church as a whole needs to step in and have a serious talk with your pastor that will dig deep into the roots of this fellow brother in Christ.  He is human like the rest of us: and any one of us in his position is just as capable of lashing out, too.  We’re not any better than him.

This conversation could go many different ways. 

1) He’ll deny anything is happening.  In this case, keep digging.  Don’t just try once and give up.  If he continually says “I’m okay,” then you might want to consider attending another church.

2) He’ll play the pity-card and say, “Yes, I’ve been so stressed lately and I’m sorry if I offended you and it’s because of this, this, and this.”  You’ll need to get past this defense very quickly.

3) He’ll blow up on you.  Change churches.

4) He’ll actually listen, apologize, and repent.  He’ll admit he sinned against you.  Because yes, what he did was wrong.  He might also share his heart and you’ll create a new channel of communication with him.  You might be surprised to hear about his struggles and inner-turmoil and even his guilt about the whole thing: and while this doesn’t make his behavior more acceptable, at least he’s willing to be open and to change.

 

The point here is: We must at least try to confront our fellow church members about what happened.  We’re all learning and growing here.  People get frustrated and angry, and it’s still our Christian obligation to handle these things with a head-on collision and exposure of their ugliness.  I see too many church people who just bottle up all their frustrations against other church members and begin to slander them or build resentment or divide into factions, and this is just playing the devil’s game.  Most people are too cowardly to confront their leaders and pastors: and I’m not saying this is you, but we would rather exert a lifetime gossiping to destroy a ministry than fifteen minutes in an awkward conversation.

I pray you will choose what’s most loving and most wise.

And if you must: Pray hard about finding a new ministry that will respect you and that will not put so much misguided energy into a rehearsal.

I trust you will speak with both grace and truth.

— J

Dec 4

Hi pastor, I am struggling with the way I am at times. I'm suppose to be a leader and reach out to people and check up on them but it's hard. I'm not the type to text often because I'm more of a person who speaks to others in person. But even if I were to meet someone in person, for some reason I have never said "how are you" to my brothers/sisters at church. I guess I struggle with reaching out to people. It's not that I don't care for them but I don't know how to do exactly that. What to do..?

Anonymous

My dear friend, please allow me to be both tender and tough on this one.

There are some things that are certainly “struggles” in our lives.  When we feel anxiety around other people or large crowds, this is a legitimate issue that might be a lifelong problem.  I’ve had stage fright since sixth grade, and to this day I still have a hard time talking in public without getting feverish and shaky.  I’m mostly an introvert too, so I would almost always rather be at home in my boxers watching reruns of Whose Line Is It Anyway than chatting it up in the church lobby.

BUT — Saying the word “struggle” in our Christian culture often gets abused to mean “permission slip.”  At some point, the struggle must become a battle.  At some point, the little scared insecure kid inside us needs to sit down and take a backseat, and the grown-up needs to get up and do something.  The scared kid inside doesn’t ever completely go away: but neither can he ever dictate the course of your life.

I promise I’m not trying to guilt-trip you here.  I’m just saying: Please do not use your shyness as an excuse to cover your laziness.  Most introverts just don’t want to put on pants.  They would rather watch a rom-com or TV series or a sports game than actually live a dirty, sweaty, gritty life.  That’s just laziness.  It’s not cute, it’s not attractive, and it’s not real shyness. 

Getting to know another human being is hard work.  And that’s also true for extroverts.  Most people just don’t make an effort to approach people: and you’ll need to fight the natural inclination to hide in your shell every single day. It’s a daily battle. 

It’s still tough for me to call people and just say hello.  I sometimes stare at a phone for as long as an hour before calling a fellow church friend and just talking.  Really.  I know, it’s tough.  But I do it anyway.  And it’s gotten just slightly easier.  But I’m always glad I did when I follow through.

So maybe you’re really bad at socializing, but that’s the very exact reason we would want to go socialize.  To get better at it.  It doesn’t have to be with fifty people at a time.  Start with one.  Take a special interest in just a few people.  Asking “How are you” is as easy as asking, “How are you.”  Then listen.  Some of those church folk around you are just waiting to hear that question from someone.

If I’ve been harsh, it’s just because I love you and God wants way more for you than to believe the excuses.  You’ve probably believed some lies about yourself over a lifetime, like I’ll never be good at this or I’m just not a people-person, but that’s all crap.  Let’s throw that script out the window and just get into the mess.  It’s scary, but it’s awesome.  We’re made to be with people.  Go be with them.  Get hurt, scrape your knees, climb trees, get ice cream, and talk until four in the morning.  You’ll be glad you did.

— J

How To Be A Great Leader for a Lady

Anonymous asked:

Hey man, I love your blog and you post great stuff. I know you’ve talked about being engaged soon and my girlfriend and I have discussed this too. However, I don’t feel that I am a great leader and I’ve never really been shown how to either. What is some advice on how I can be the leader God wants me to be for her? Thanks J!

 

Hey my friend, thank you so much for the encouragement.

This will sound overly simplistic, but being a great leader is about following a great leader. 

It means loving God with every fiber of your being to the best of your God-given capacity.  If you’re under the authority of Christ as best you can, you’ll no doubt be the kind of person who is fit to lead.  If I wasn’t following God, I’d be following myself, and that has led to some atrocious places where I deceived girls, used them up, and basically made myself a target for any father’s shotgun.

I know most people will mock this idea.  But I’ve never met a great leader who wasn’t under the leadership of a smarter better leader.  That means, of course, you’d do well to be under good mentors, a good pastor, and good older people.  But it ultimately means you are daily humbling yourself before the Word and Will of God.  The only alternative is you’d be following your own advice or some lesser person, and then you’d just have to punch yourself in the face all the time.

I’m imagining my future daughter dating a dude.  Who is that dude following?  What authority is he under?  Who does he answer to?  If it’s not God, then get out of my house and stay away from my daughter.  I know I sound extremely old-fashioned when I put it that way, and it lacks my usual care for nuance and the gray-area — but dude, it’s my daughter.  I don’t want her to date some guy who is following himself.  Would you?

If you’re not sure what this looks like in practice, then 1) be the hands and feet of Jesus, so get involved with charity and justice, 2) be part of a church you can trust, 3) consider your future children in most anything you do, because Jesus loved children and so must we, 4) read your Bible and pray, which sounds obvious but is hardly done regularly by Christian boys, 5) make a living, 6) be a leader who serves, and 7) view women as sacred dignified human beings and not “objects” or “goals.” 

Please don’t hear me saying that you need to be perfect.  You’ll make mistakes.  When you date and get married, you’ll find tons about yourself that you never knew, especially ugly things, because being so close to someone will expose the selfish monster we’ve been hiding inside.  I’m only just learning this: but instead of being so hard on myself, I’m finding how to manage what happens after I’m exposed.  Leadership then is about managing today just as much as managing the mess-ups, so have some grace for yourself as you go along.  

A last thing.  Don’t primarily pursue the woman.  Pursue Christ first, and you will find a godly woman running alongside you. 

— J.S.

Pastors and Leaders: Please Exercise. Not Kidding.

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Pastors, leaders, fellow brothers and sisters:

Please take care of your body.

I don’t mean you need to be ripped with bulging serrated rope-muscles like fireworks in your pecks.

I just mean: Take care of yourself.

Your lack of energy isn’t always related to the pressure of ministry. It’s because you go for the 99 cent menu at McDonald’s, you stay up late for “research” on Facebook, your only exercise is phone-thumbs, and you watch a marathon of TV shows every night in bed instead of stopping by the gym for half an hour.

I’m not trying to make you feel bad. But if you do feel bad: it’s probably that whole pizza you ate last night.

Your body is part of your ministry.
I just cannot take an unhealthy pastor very seriously.
It’s cool if he catches the flu once a season or has his own personal health issues.
But not cool if he does nothing about it, or makes it worse with his indulgence.

 

You’d be surprised how you feel if you:
- Exercise four times per week, thirty minutes each time, even if it’s just the grandpa-elliptical.
- Sleep. On time. A lot.
- Put away the chips, the soda, and food after 8pm.
- Spend a whole day per week without any screens or electronics.
- Once per month, fight nature with your bare fists. Whether it’s swimming at the beach, hiking a mountainside, or biking on a trail, or camping.
- Try a martial arts class and get beat up.
- Try a dance class and make a fool of yourself.
- Avoid your bed until it’s bedtime.
- Make your own food more than you buy out.
- Play with your kids until they’re tired.
- If you have to be in the office: be near an open window.
- When you take a break, take a walk outside.

This can easily turn into idolatry, but we are much more in danger of laziness than not.
Don’t wait. Start a routine. Let your body out to play, and you will feel better. You will do ministry better. You will be in a better mood. You’ll wish you had started earlier.

– J

Hi! So I just came back from a small fellowship gathering for college girls and I'm confused if not indignant about somethings we discussed, and since no pastor was present in the discussion, I wanted to check in with you. Did God envision an ideal family to be head by a man, with the woman to support him? I was told today that the man is to serve the woman, but the woman's role was to support the man; in this time and age, I'm having a hard time understanding this. Thanks for clearing it up!

Anonymous

 

Hey there dear friend, all my thoughts on that topic are here:

- Mega-Post: Female Pastors, Neo-Feminism, and The Scary Words Submission, Quiet, and Penis

Please keep in mind that words like “serve” and “support” and “submit” and “leader” are all messed up by their social abuse, so we want to separate out the good ideas from their corrupted usage.  Each of these ideas have clear, appropriate, even beautiful foundations that were meant to create harmony, but so often our culturally conditioned misunderstanding from both neo-feminism and chauvinistic bias have rendered some of these terms meaningless.

I highly encourage to have discernment and nuance whenever discussing those things, and to leave our chronological time-constrained prejudice at the door.  We sometimes think we’re the only generation to finally understand all the male-female stuff — but we are NOT the first generation to struggle with these thoughts, nor are we the first enlightened people to get it.  I’m still learning, and I’m sure I don’t have it all correct either.

Pray hard through it.  Arrive at your convictions and be teachable. :)

— J

What are your views on "men leading women". I'm right now trying to figure out what the bible is trying to say. Is it only in marriage that this is the case or is this the case throughout. The reason I am asking this is because I'm checking out some southern baptist churches and there is a heavy emphasis on men leading the women. I'm not sure what to believe because in my heart I feel the intent of "men leading women" comes from a place of controlling leadership vs inspirational leadership.

 

Hey my friend: my thoughts on this have evolved over time, but I wrote a post covering some of it here —

- Mega-Post: Female Pastors, Neo-Feminism, and The Scary Words Submission, Quiet, and Penis

 

I agree that a lot of the “men leading women” mentality comes from chauvinistic motives and taking verses out of context. 

So here are some thoughts to consider:

1) No one anywhere intuitively respects a man who doesn’t lead.  In other words, I’ve never really heard a woman say, “I like men who are lazy and lack goals and are scared of taking charge.”

2) I think the Bible is way more nuanced about this than we are.  In Scripture, there are men leading women, men leading men, women leading men, and women leading women.  God lays down principles for all these scenarios, and because men and women are different, there are occasionally different principles for each.

3) Leadership is not primarily defined by gender.  I don’t know why we turn it into a battle of the sexes so quickly — except you know, people love to take sides.

4) Ephesians 5:22-33 and 1 Timothy 2:11 are some of the most misquoted twisted-up verses in Scripture.  I cover that in the link above.

5) I was once part of the SBC, and though they say they’re complementarian (men and women are equal with different roles), it almost never feels like they’re close to the lofty theology they claim.  But just because the SBC messes it up doesn’t mean we can dismiss what Scripture says about men leading.

6) I cannot, cannot, cannot stand neo-feminism.  It’s different than feminism, which is good stuff.  I cover that in the link above too.

7) If we’re talking about just gender roles then the bottom line is: Women are looking for men who can lead, but more importantly, looking for men who are led by Christ.  There is NO automatic deference to a man just because he is a man, and it’s not like leading is some kind of fun gig you can do for a while.  Men have an extra burden of responsibility.  Any time a man wields some verse about “authority,” I always wonder if he realizes he’s instantly putting expectations on himself.  From many of the wimpy Christian men I’ve seen: they don’t get it.  Leadership is serious, and requires more than just Bible-verse-bombing.

— J

Sep 4

Question: How To Start A Bible Study

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 Anonymous asked:

I want to start a bible study group, but I don’t know how to go about doing it. I have this urge from God to step out of my comfort zone. Please help!

 

Hey, you’re awesome.  That is very, very awesome.  I love you for doing what you’re doing, and God has your back on this.

Please don’t see the following as a formula, but just a few jolts to get you started at a good place. 

 

1) Read the Bible for yourself first.

I’m sure you’re already doing this, but most preachers and teachers have a habit of reading into the Bible as teachable material.  Soon you’ll be saying, “Oh this will work for that topic” or “This verse fits perfectly here,” and you become a funnel where nothing catches.

Think of yourself as a sponge.  If you’re not soaking in, you have nothing to pour out.  You can probably teach dry for a while, but eventually you’ll burn and crash.  Along with your Bible Study, please consider having a separate devotional time that has nothing to do with your teaching.  While your devotionals can overlap into your teaching, it doesn’t always work vice versa.

 

2) Be a little crazy.  Like run-through-a-wall crazy.

Whether you’re starting a college campus Bible Study or a cell meeting at your house or a life-stage small group at church — be a little nuts about everything.  Be engaged, prepared, persistent, involved, vulnerable, passionate, and seeking. 

I don’t mean extroverted. What I mean is: It’s very difficult to gather people into a room to learn anything, much less the Bible.  It takes a determination to organize them, keep in contact, speak to their life-struggles, work through awkwardness, and to sincerely pray for them.  If God has called you to teach, He will also anoint you with the ability to carry through, so don’t be afraid to max out how God has wired you for the task at hand.  Utilize God’s gifts in you to the fullest.

Also: You will endure a ton of rejection, feelings of inadequacy, and a nagging inner-voice that wants to quit.  You might have only three people for a while or no responsiveness, and it can get discouraging.  However you need to process that stuff — let it pass through your system like poison.  Don’t deny it or hide it or numb it.  Wrestle with it and let it sweat out your pores.  Run through that wall to the end. 

And double-also: You’ll face a lot of disagreement and opposition.  Run through that too.  One of my friends tried to start a Bible Study in her church and she was stopped by the pastor, because he was afraid it would conflict with some other Bible study.  She was more or less devastated: but she went and hosted it anyway, as a non-church function for the ladies.  It worked out really well.  I’m not saying to actively disobey your pastor about these things: but the bigger point is to be a little crazy about pursuing this calling.  If you have to over-do anything in life, it might as well be on what you care about.

 

3) Dive in the deep end.

Bible Studies can be a deep time of confession, repentance, growth, reconnection, and intimate life-sharing.  You can’t force this at all, but you can begin by jumping in the deep end first.

The leader has to be willing to be honest and open about themselves.  I do know of preachers and teachers who reveal too much, to the point where it becomes a One-Man-Show (and I’m guilty of this sometimes too) — but then I know others who never share a single thing and end up looking self-righteous or plastic-perfect. 

Again, you can’t manufacture this moment, and people will know if you’re faking it or somehow using a technique.  But the sincerity begins with you.  Be courageous, ask God for grace, and jump.

 

4) Stick to the Bible. 

Whenever people say “We’re having fellowship,” I sort of don’t believe them these days.  The word has been so beaten down that it basically means “We’re having chips and salsa this Thursday while vaguely making it spiritual by praying for two seconds over the chips.” 

Sometimes in a Bible Study, it’s totally cool to talk about the latest TV show, the you-had-to-be-there funny-story, the random bathroom humor, the latest sports scores, that one viral video, the sad headlines yesterday, or just giggling madly about nothing.  All this is life, and none of it’s really wasted, and a great Bible Study will have these moments.  But the primary objective of a Bible Study is to equip the saints with the Word of God so they may glorify Christ and dismantle the lies of sin and thwart the devil’s schemes. 

As much as you’ll have an amazing time with friends, true fellowship will always have some God-centered growth by planting the Word of God in the soil of weary hearts.  Certainly you don’t want to be the religious nanny, but you also want to anchor all your teaching by reining in the focus.  So long as you tie it back to the redemptive purpose of God in His Gospel, you’re doing it right.  Then the fun times will be even more fun, more rich, more full.

 

There were so many times when I went home empty from a Bible Study where I had a great time laughing, but there was zero substance to the teaching.  There were other times when it was awkwardly silent, where jokes would fail mid-air, where the conversation sputtered — but the teaching was exactly what I needed. 

I didn’t come for a social club; I could’ve picked other places for that.  I came to be fed, for my thirst to be quenched by the Living Water, to be armed to fight Satan.  Remember those broken people, and that no matter how much they laugh or smile, inside they need the Bread of the Word as much as you do.  I don’t mean to sound so dreary, but I also make no apology for making fellowship a time of entering the glorious presence of God and basking in His authority.  God has entrusted you with it, and I’m sure He will do amazing work through you.

— J.S.

Six Things I Write At The Top of Every Sermon

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I always have six phrases at the top of every sermon I preach.  Here they are, explained.

 

1) Always, always, always preach the cross and resurrection.

If a sermon does not preach the Gospel, it is not a Christian sermon.  Good advice is good, but by itself is only moral conformity.  Jesus came to destroy that.  We need the Good News of his work on the cross.

 

2) God = big, big, big. The story of God = the glory of God.

God must be big, or something else is.  Sermons can very quickly run into psychological self-help or dire warnings, and while these can be helpful, we need a Trinitarian vision of an awesome, holy, gracious God.  We need the story of a God who stepped down into humanity that speaks of His glorious nature — and it’s His story that sets us on a mission for His glory.

 

3) Love your people. Set them free.

Don’t bash your people with ranting.  Please don’t throw snarky mean homing missiles that are aimed for the one guy you can’t stand.  Beg God for a heart of love that wants the church to be unburdened from their cycle of guilt and sin.  Speak truth in love.

 

4) Why? Because of grace. How to? By the Spirit.

No one in the history of anywhere has ever been successfully shamed into following Jesus.  Those scare tactics are marks of a lazy fear-mongering preacher.  A guilt trip can move someone for a little while, but it’s only an external apparatus that exhausts itself.  While preaching grace might take longer to see change, it is the only pure sustainable motivation that can truly become a part of someone.  It tenderizes hearts and softens calloused souls.  It is not driven by flesh, but relies solely on the Holy Spirit — a spirit of love, power, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).

 

5) Relatable Application: Right Now.

A sermon is like building a bridge between the world of the Bible and the world today.  Some preachers stay in Bible-land with fascinating facts and cool excursions into grammar, but it remains a history lesson.  Others will preach applications that sound good, but are not biblical.  I believe the Bible is a timeless truth that speaks to us today, right now, and meets us where we are. 

 

6) Question. Objection. Breakthrough. So What?

We all have a built-in resistance that mentally argues with a presentation.  My favorite preachers are the ones who anticipate my questions and objections, and then finds the point of breakthrough. 

This doesn’t mean I need a lecture on the Christian subculture or on every false preacher or why these other Christians have it wrong.  I need to know that Jesus is real and relevant, and that this is all about him.

As a listener, I’m constantly asking, “So what?  Why is this important?  Why do I need to know this?”  A great sermon will shed light on the essentials and point to The One who is bigger than my own life.  A great pastor knows he has nothing great to say on his own, but has brought his very human questions to Christ, has sincerely wrestled with them, and is ready to travel with fellow Christians on this journey together, at eye-level, hand in hand, as Jesus does with us.

“I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?”

— C.S. Lewis

 

— J.S.

Sometimes you want to do everything yourself, and maybe you really will do a better job, but it’s better to delegate some of those tasks to others. It might not go perfectly, but if God wanted perfection, He wouldn’t have picked you either. Our need to micromanage keeps us from passing the torch to a next generation, and then your wisdom will simply die with you. Be glad for the privilege to teach others and celebrate them when they surpass you. Part of our purpose is to keep that purpose going, no matter who’s actually doing it.

- J.S.

For the preacher to be relevant to the staggering problems of history is to risk being irrelevant to the staggering problems of the ones who sit there listening out of their own histories. To deal with the problems to which there is a possible solution can be a way of avoiding the problems to which humanly speaking there is no solution. When Jesus was brought to the place where his friend Lazarus lay dead, for instance, he did not offer any solution. He only wept. Then the other things he said and did. But first he simply let his tears be his word.

- Frederick Buechner, Telling The Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, & Fairy Tale

What is your understanding from Scripture of how church discipline should be done and what it should be done for? I have reason to believe that someone at my church has been disciplined falsely, and honestly, it is tearing me apart emotionally as I do not know either side of the story fully, nor can I ever expect to. I want to do the right thing.

Anonymous

Great question.  Most ministry leadership bases their “church discipline” on Matthew 18:15-20 and 1 Corinthians 5.  Basically, there are terms given for a firm approach on sin and possible excommunication from the church.

But my question is: Why are these the only guidelines for church discipline?  It feels like these passages are often twisted to force people out that are disagreeable or who take “too long” to beat sin.  There are just as many passages to restore a brother and show grace for failure. 

In other words, while it’s possible your church has done everything to restore this person by the grace of God, it’s also very possible they jumped the gun and did this person a great deal of harm.  If you truly feel something is amiss, the right thing to do is to continually bug the leadership until they have fully explained their position. 

I hope you also do this with grace and not with a stubborn heart.  These situations can be tricky — every story has not just two sides, but multiple versions of the truth.  People are also not one-dimensional evil cartoons, and many of them might have made a horribly conflicted decision that was not easy for anyone.  A sincerely gracious church often hates doing church discipline, but often have to for an unrepentant person who has been caught in a serious moral compromise.

Also know that sometimes even your best efforts to do the right thing will be met with zero change.  But yes: we must at least try to reconcile where we can.  I’ll be throwing you a prayer.

— J.S.

No one likes the guy who demands positional respect. We like the guy who draws in personal respect. I’ll probably listen to a guy who is bossing me around, but secretly I resent him. I’ll nearly always listen to the gracious leader not just because I respect him, but because I like him: and that’s a whole different level of respect.

There are way too many church leaders who act like untouchable kings and CEOs, to the point where they become unapproachable. It’s always sad when the church applauds their pastor because “he actually spoke to one of us today,” as if he raised the bar from poop to vomit.

At least half the leaders I know are like this in public: stodgy, stiff, proper, socially awkward, when privately they are very cool people. I always want to tell them: Just let yourself out to play.

- J.S. from this post

Question: Feeling Disrespected in Ministry


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Anonymous asked:

I have a question about respect and leadership. I believe respect (like credibility) is earned. I feel really disrespected by a comment from someone in ministry. I am trying to discern if this is a deeper pride issue that I need to work out between me and God (plank/sawdust), or if I should just learn to NOT take things personally. But it’s hard when we personally invest so much, only to be misunderstood, or treated with contempt. Jesus was never offended. How do I have the right heart to serve?

 

Oh my wonderful friend — if you just knew this is exactly what I often go through every week.  If only God handed out permission slips to slap uppity fools upside their head.  I would need roughly a thousand.

But it’s very easy to see this in black-and-white when it gets more complicated from so many different angles.

I’ve had ministry leaders completely go off on me because they felt disrespected by something I said, and I never meant any disrespect at all.  Maybe I could’ve said it better, or more likely they could’ve handled it better, but it’s tough to say who had the right heart there.

I’ve also felt offended by innocuous comments that I misunderstood as attacks. I tried not to take it personally, but it would lodge like a splinter in my brain for days.  It happens, and again: who was really right?

Then there are times when someone actively disrespects me, which is probably the situation you’re in, and whether they are right or wrong — it hurts.  Is my hurt a good response?  Does it mean we’re selfish?  Can we just brush it off?

 

The thing is: It’s impossible not to take some things personally.  And that’s okay.  It’s right to feel disrespected, and it doesn’t mean you’re selfish.  But this should also never exclude our clarity in both seeking the truth for ourselves and being confident enough not to let it crush us. 

Even the worst kind of criticism could have helpful nuggets of wisdom which we would be wise to heed: and instead of getting mad about it, we can use that energy to utilize it.

All this comes down to separating the emotional response from the spoken logic of your particular confrontation. On one hand we we can’t dismiss our emotions because they’re very real and it doesn’t help to repress them — but we also can’t dismiss what was spoken, because maybe there is truth to it no matter how awful it was phrased.

We don’t always get the discernment right either, because we’re emotional beings that can neither disregard all our feelings nor rationalize ourselves to death.  But on a long enough timeline, with more practiced patience and a thicker skin, you will get better at this.  You’ll be able to breathe when such comments are made, and you can surgically sift through good intentions, bad ones, and all of it in between.

 

So let’s be simple.  If someone says something hurtful, it’s okay to be hurt.  You’ll probably play it over in your head for a while, so let it happen.  Don’t feel bad about feeling bad and let the emotions work through your system.

In the meantime, dig for the truth in their statement and find what works.  Toss out anything that doesn’t. 

If the whole comment is bad, then shut it down quick.  Don’t let comments cut into your ministry. 

Be humble and teachable, and recognize that we are not always the smartest person in the room.  Ask God if this wisdom is from Him, and it’s okay if the answer is not immediately clear. 

Pray that certain people would learn how to phrase their words better.  And surround yourself with both encouraging people AND people who are not afraid to say the truth.  We need both. 

— J.S.

The Sloppy Truth of Discipleship
J.S. Park

In case you missed it!  This is the second message I preached in Alabama on discipleship, leadership, and mentoring.

jspark3000:

 

Hello beloved friends!

This is the second sermon I preached at a wonderful church in Huntsville, Alabama (the first sermon is here).

It’s titled, The Sloppy Truth of Discipleship.

Stream above or download directly here!

 

In this message, I talk about the joyful mess of making disciples and the difficulties of the Great Commission. 

If you’ve been blessed by the podcast, please consider leaving a review on iTunes!

Love y’all!

— J

(Source: thewayeverlasting.libsyn.com)

The Sloppy Truth of Discipleship
J.S. Park

 

Hello beloved friends!

This is the second sermon I preached at a wonderful church in Huntsville, Alabama (the first sermon is here).

It’s titled, The Sloppy Truth of Discipleship.

Stream above or download directly here!

 

In this message, I talk about the joyful mess of making disciples and the difficulties of the Great Commission. 

Some of the things I talk about are: When Jesus uppercuts drug addicts, the hyper-spiritual attitude in the awkward Bible study, and what separates the church from every other place in the world.

If you’ve been blessed by the podcast, please consider leaving a review on iTunes!

Love y’all!

— J

(Source: thewayeverlasting.libsyn.com)