Ministry Changes Relationships Webinar
So thank you again for joining us tonight. We’re here to talk about ministry changes relationships, as you can see on the screen. We have Lucas and Crystal Frank from Livonia, Michigan, Tim and Deb Funk from Peoria, Matt is in the ACCFS office. And then Katie and I are here in Gridley joining you tonight. So a few more moving parts. Hopefully everything works together, but our hope tonight is to have a discussion on this very timely topic. But before we go any further, I would like to go around the room and just have everyone there introduce themselves, how many years they’ve been in the ministry where their life stages.
And so Lucas and Crystal, if you start, and then we’ll just work our way across the screen there. Sure. So we’ve been in the ministry for 14 years, back in 2005. And, we have four children that range between a sophomore in high school down to first grade.
Tim and Deb. Hi. So Tim and I have been in the ministry for 19 years and 14 years as elder. We have four boys. When you first started the ministry, our youngest was six, our oldest was 14. So now they’re 30 something and 28 or something like that. They’re all four married.
Okay. Matt, how long have you been in the ministry? It’ll be 14 years in November. And I’ve got six children. My wife Rebecca, and I, she’s obviously not with me here tonight, but, we have six children. My oldest is 15 and my youngest just turned one.
Go ahead, Katie. Arlan and Katie Miller, been in the ministry two and a half years. Children range from nine down to almost four months. So really excited to be here together tonight. And I’m gonna turn it over to Matt, who will do the bulk of the teaching and then we’ll do some discussions scattered throughout.
So again, if you have questions, feel free to chat those in. And then we will have a little bit of time at the end where you can ask live questions if you wish. Go ahead, Matt. Sure. Delighted to be with everyone. Our topic here is about ministry and how that affects relationships. We find that a document that the elder brothers put out a few years back, I don’t know exactly how long it’s been, three years back. It was a multiple page document that provided some practical application and help to ministers in helping sort through what it is that we are being called to. We’re actually selecting just a little part of that. And felt like it really spoke to tonight’s topic, and that was serving the body of Christ and nurturing relationships with the congregation. This concept here, the bulleted there, your friendships and interactions may change. You must strive to be impartial in love without simulation and in sincerity. So this really is a foundation for which this particular content services us tonight is that interactions do change.
So we have five simple statements here, tonight, and the first statement is this, When ministry makes relationships complex. And, so I wanna unpack that a little bit, and then open it up to discuss among our guests here. But, ministry makes relationships complex. And, to give us a little bit of idea, let me start with a simple relationship. Your doctor and you as a patient. Okay? There is a relationship that you have with your doctor that’s very clear in a lot of ways. The expectations are clear. The roles are clear, the boundaries are clear, what is appropriate and what is not appropriate is pretty clear with your doctor patient relationship.
And you would think that might be simple enough. And maybe let’s just exchange doctor for minister and exchange patient for church member. But we have found, and I think you probably have as well, that it’s not that simple because the relationship isn’t just one particular element, It’s actually quite a few elements.
That church member is also my friend. He’s my brother-in-law, he’s my neighbor, he’s my work associate, and on and on and on the list goes. And so we have this complex now minister relationship at times with those in the pew. And we have multiple relationships with them. And this particular topic is just trying to set up how is it now that we interact in this way?
Because sometimes that provides some complexity and I’m gonna suggest that there’s one word that really places its finger on the complexity and the reason for the complexity and that is power. And so tonight we’re gonna talk a little bit about power and we probably have some initial feelings about what that means and the word power.
And I’m gonna ask you to hold off on those feelings. We’re gonna try to redeem this term tonight, but there is a power difference, right? When you become a minister or an ordained deacon or an elder, and that power makes the back and forth between what was my friend and who is my brother-in-law and who’s my neighbor, makes that back and forth more complex, more, it’s not equal in some cases as it used to be.
And, so we’re just really, with this statement in this slide, just teeing up. I think the reality that we feel is that relationships can become complex when we add to it the role of a minister. Does that strike you brothers and sisters right? Frank’s and Funks and Millers?
Yes. Where you have, I mean sometimes we use the term dual relationships where you have more than one level of relationship with someone and it can become pretty tricky to figure out, as Matt was saying, are they speaking to me as a friend or as a church member or as a minister, how are they speaking to me?
Have you seen this Lucas and Crystal, maybe we’ll start with you. Have you seen these dual relationships emerge as you’ve been in the pulpit ministry now for a number of years? And how have you navigated them or how has it affected some of those relationships? I think we have a unique situation because in our Detroit congregation, we both are transplants here, so we don’t have that added complexity of relationships of our mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, that sort of thing in our congregation.
So you all might be able to speak to that better, but I think one of the things that we’ve noticed is just friendships and how that friendship changes. As much as we, I think Matt’s gonna talk a little bit more about power and that sort of thing, as much as we want to deny that there’s a difference or a power there, there is, it just changes.
And so I think some of those pieces of navigating how to change it well and what it looks like, maybe somebody who is not as good a friend as maybe you had previously thought, how to navigate that well. You still need to love them as a church member now that you, your husband is in the ministry or that sort of thing.
So I think that it changes that the friendships for us have been the hardest piece of that instead of family relationships. Crystal, if my wife, was here she would probably cite the fact that we were invited fewer places after we were put in the ministry. I mean, it was noticeable to her.
I’m not sure I noticed it quite so much, but all of a sudden, we’re not invited places. So, that was something that really hurt her. That was something that she struggled with and it’s real. And I think it goes to that friendship concept too. Tim and Deb, any observations on your end?
Yes. Early in my ministry, I remember a very specific truck ride with someone in my family. And, as we were driving, they were asking me questions about the church, and Deb and I were with them and I was just talking to them as a relative. And, pretty soon it became very clear that they thought they were talking to the elder.
And, that changed. Actually we made it very clear in the conversation. Then it was like, Oh, okay, So you asked what you’re looking for clarity from the leadership of the church or from someone in the ministry and it actually set me back on my heels because it showed me, I didn’t understand these words that you’re using here, Matt, the word power. I didn’t realize or I didn’t understand these differentials. I just knew that the relationship was, something changed and I was not aware of it, or I wasn’t wise enough to think about it when it first happened and after that point, because it became very granular to me cuz it was someone very close to us. And, it all of a sudden it became so real that I am in a different place than I was before with that person. And then you find out that honestly it’s, and as you go through it, you find out that you’re in that place with a lot of people, a little differently than what you thought you were.
Just going off what you both have said too, potlucks were one of the biggest things that I noticed. You’re all sitting around a table and all of a sudden everybody’s discussing something or are having an opinion, and then they’ll say, What do you think about it?
And just like you said, Tim, that goes off. Like they don’t really know what, they wanna know what the leadership thinks, not just what Lucas thinks. So I think that was a different piece. You’re not just going for entertainment and back and forth and that sort of thing, it’s more of a, you have to remember your role or where you are.
And I don’t know that it even changes as much, even what we would say, but I think the weight or the effect, how it’s interpreted can change with the different title of minister or elder. So that’s been something that we’ve learned it, that it’s not that we’ve changed in who we need to be necessarily, but there’s a different impression by the same words that we would use.
And so, we’ve had to learn that, a couple different times, a couple different ways as well. I didn’t get it for quite a while, I don’t think, and as a result, I just withdrew. Which now I look back and I think there probably was a better way to handle it, but I just didn’t know what it was, and it was confusing.
Did you, Tim, in that conversation in that truck, did you, if I heard you right, you called out and said, are you talking to me as the elder? Are you talking to me as a family member? Did you actually verbally say that? I actually did. Deb remembers the time very well as herself and I basically, I clarified it for both Deb and I, that they are speaking to us as ministers or elder of the church, not as the family member that we were. So it was interesting how it came up. And truthfully, they didn’t blink an eye at it. That was truly what they were thinking.
What I was hearing is this is a little bit of attention that we’re calling out. We talk about that sometimes you bring attention to a tension that’s there, not something necessarily to fix, but just be aware this is going on. And, sometimes you have to almost call that out and be very explicit about it.
And sometimes it’s just the awareness piece. But one of the thoughts that Matt and I had as we were preparing and praying about this is just that we have, there’s a few pointers that might come out but this is one of those topics where potentially, you are left with as many questions as answers.
But hopefully what’s happening is we are drawing attention to that tension that has an impact on relationships and that we can talk about and hopefully have a discussion about, at least with spouses or maybe with close friends or something like that. Let’s with that go ahead and move along.
So statement number two is that everyone has power to steward. That’s a very simple statement that is every one of us possesses power, and it’s actually better that we understand this power. For example, my one year old daughter, Wren, doesn’t understand when she has a marker in her hand that she has some power.
And we’ve all experienced that, right? The child has got a great deal of power and because she doesn’t understand the power that she has, she’s especially dangerous. And so we’re really, as Arlan said, raising this concept, the power, for us to understand. Now we’re gonna define power tonight as just simply the capacity to influence.
We all are influential in many different ways, at very different degrees. Not everybody has the same capacity to influence, but everybody has a capacity to influence. Think about mothers, think about the influence you have over your children, right? That’s power.Think about the influence you have in your neighborhood or among the groups that you are in as a minister. Consider that capacity to influence.
That’s really what we’re speaking about. I think our minds quickly go, when we think of power, we quickly go to the abuse of power by the big power struggles of history and men who have usurped power in terrible awful ways. And so let’s consider Jesus as our icon of power.
In fact, he says in Matthew 28, right before the Great Commission, he says, All power is given me. Go therefore, and teach. He launches his servants to preach the Word after he has assured them that all power was given to him. And I think that is a pretty exciting thing to realize. So as we think about stewarding our power, we really tonight wanna look to Jesus and say, Okay, how did he steward his?
And how then can we steward ours? How does my daughter, Wren, steward a marker? She’s gotta learn that. And that’s really what we have with power. I also wanna draw attention to the fact that Peter Scazzero has included some of this content in his book, The Emotionally Healthy Leader. Highly recommend that, but we also want to give some acknowledgement to some of the work and study that he’s done on this topic of power.
Let’s move along to the next statement and then I think we’ll break for some more commentary and some more discussion. Statement number three says, power comes from different places. I think what’s important for us as we realize the power that we have, part of that is realizing where it comes from.
If we can identify where our power comes from, we will more easily spot it. We will more easily be able to steward it. We will more easily see where maybe we don’t steward it well. So the first one is probably the most obvious and that is positional. What authority do I have by way of position?
We experience this in lots of areas of our life from going and being on a member of the PTO, to becoming president of the PTO. All of a sudden with that positional power, relationships change within the group, at workplace with a promotion or with more added responsibility, that position brings about authority and it changes relationships there power comes. Certainly becoming voted in as a minister is a positional and power comes by way of that, so that’s positional. The next one is personal. We all have a degree of power to differing degrees, but just by natural charisma. Competencies, think about the degrees that you have.
Think about the schooling that you have. Think about how hard of a job that you have that you maintain, right? All of those things contribute to your power. Think about your natural charisma. I think a funny story that I think about with this one is my mom went to great lengths to get my sister not to suck her thumb before Kindergarten.
And I think a lot of moms did. And my sister came back after the first week of Kindergarten. Guess what? Sucking her thumb. Why? Because a very powerful kindergartner was sucking her thumb. And it’s so fascinating that even a very young person has this power, has this charisma to gather and get people and influence people.
And that’s what this young Kindergartner was doing with sucking her thumb. So it comes naturally to some of us. We need to be aware of that. Are you well spoken? Power will come with that. Are you able to make a thoughtful defense of something? There’s power there and those are wonderful things. Jesus gives us those gifts.
We need to understand that power comes by way of that personal element. Then we have relational. Relational is leverage that we have over people. Whenever somebody shares with us very vulnerable information or they share a difficult issue that they’re dealing with or you walk through the pain of loss with a person, whether it be through the death of a loved one.
All of these things contribute to your power, personal power with those individuals. So we have personal power by way of relations, and as we do what we do in talking to people and sharing life with people we need to understand that relational power comes to us in those ways. And then the last one, probably the most important is speaking for God.
What influence do I have by way of preaching? We have to realize that when we stand on the pulpit and we preach God’s Word and we say, thus saith the Lord. We all feel how weak in the knees we are when we do that. For this reason, because a great deal of influence is held in that capacity to speak God’s Word.
And so here is another really important one that we all handle with a great deal of care. But this teaching here tonight is simply raising this awareness that consider this in the element with the element of power. So, Arlan, I’d love to hear some of your thoughts, prompts, for our guests regarding this.
Well, I’d like to turn to Lucas and Crystal and Tim and Deb here. And, I guess one direction I’d like us to think about is often we can view this situation and ministry affects relationships as this idea of a negative side or just what has lost by this?
I’d like us to look at it from a positive idea and just say, where have you seen gain or opportunity from the relationships, from the opportunity that’s been there with the ministry, have you seen opportunities emerge? Have you seen a chance to do things that you would not have had a chance to do beforehand?
How can we think about this positively? Go ahead, Tim. Well, I’ll just start out simply. I think as an elder and early on, even as a minister, I saw the need. And I think all of us feel like there are some maybe that are left out or the least or the lost or the lonely. I think we have an opportunity to help and to reach out to them and help them to feel needed and that they are seen. And so I don’t know that that’s such a big thing, but it’s something that hit me early on is that I did have the opportunity for people to know that they were seen by somebody.
And not that I’m anybody, but it’s just the opportunity to be able to do that. And, I think I’ve seen that and, I think it’s been acknowledged too. So thankful for that. I think in certain situations, as your wife, I could bring a different viewpoint to whatever you were dealing with a certain person or whatever.
Just whether it was another woman or a girl or something. And, even being able to say things like, well, look what this person has been through, or look at their past and kind of, Tim and I have been able to work together like that in a lot of situations and I think it helps to get a broader perspective in dealing with whatever that problem is.
I know one of the things that we’ve talked about are just this idea of listening and the power of listening which we hear a lot. And yet there is something to be said with the opportunity that comes just to be a listener. And there seems to be a little bit of whichever one of these boxes down here on the screen you could point out to be, but there’s a weight that comes when you’re listened to by a minister, by an elder, by a minister’s wife, by an elder’s wife that can be very comforting to people. That people feel like they are just heard and have been listened to. Which I hear you saying they’re, Tim and Deb, just in your experience, Lucas and Crystal.
Any other thoughts with that? Katie? Any, thoughts with. I was gonna mention just the blessing of being an active part of a church. It’s great to see the different puzzle pieces. I think being part of leadership and a positive blessing of that is we get to see some of those puzzle pieces come together.
Maybe it’s not information we can share or it’s not a public committee or something within our church bodies and church families but we get to of see some of the behind the scene redemption, growth, yeah, just great blessing from that within our own congregations that been in our lives.
And that’s been really neat for us with different ages, whether it’s a newly married couple, a widow, widower, something like that. It’s just neat to see those relationships change. Being part of pulpit ministry, we get a kind of a bird’s eye view sometimes.
Lucas, Crystal, anything to share? Any thoughts to share? I really echo both of, all three of those sentiments. One of the things that somewhat surprised me after we entered into the ministry, there were a few people, we have a pretty small church family here, so you would think that we would know everyone really, really well.
But there were a few that ended up starting reaching out to us that we didn’t know that well, and would share. And I think that power of listening when there’s a foundation of trust, and that’s one of the things that we found is starting with having humble hearts and that leads to trust, which leads to sharing, which then leads, Katie, to your point of being able to share back after listening, being able to share back with them some of the positive aspects or be that encourager with truth that can help guide.
But, certainly we’ve found since being in the ministry, that it’s opened up a number of relationships, even with our small church family that we didn’t have before. And I attribute that to this position of power, though we wouldn’t have used that word or thought of that, Matt, like how you’re describing it.
I appreciate that, Matt. I’m seeing that kind of lead to the next point there where it just talks a little bit about how do we approach this and do we embrace it or do we dismiss it maybe. So statement number four is unstewarded power will become corrupted. Kind of hijacked this narrative with my daughter with a marker.
But, it actually fits quite well, I think, when Wren has a marker in her hand, she’s quite powerful. And that actually, if she doesn’t learn how to steward a marker, that is, doesn’t learn how to use a marker, then it could be abusive. And she could do a lot of damage or she could be dismissive later in life and not be a writer and not use and wield that marker.
And both are a shame, right? Because the power of the pen is a gift. And so let’s use that a bit of as analogy here to power. And that’s why it’s important that we do steward our power well. We know where it comes from a multitude of different places. I can spot it in my life.
I can see the effect that it has on people, and now I can steward it so that I’m not abusive with that power or dismissive. So let’s maybe take a little time and color in the lines here on what abusive and dismissive power looks like. I think immediately our mind goes to abusive and we think of the Stalins and the Hitlers and then the people in our lives that have abused power.
And certainly that’s vivid. But, yet, there’s a dismissive piece as well and probably more of a struggle with the dismissive piece. Tim, I’m gonna call you out on that phrase that you said, not that I’m anybody you said that a number of times as you talked about how you engaged a person.
Not that I’m anybody, and we all understand the heart of humility and how beautiful that is. But, if we are not that I’m anybody all the time, when will we use the power for the gospel? So, I’d love a conversation regarding around maybe these two, what it looks like.
What do each of these look like in our own lives? Go ahead, Crystal. Arlan, you can punt it. Were you gonna punt it or no? You go ahead. So I think one of these things, especially for wives, maybe for the husbands too, we want to just be one of the ladies.
If there’s like a shower or a ladies’ night or mother daughter tea, we just want to be one of the ladies. And again, Matt, it is a struggle of being humble and not putting yourself, but realizing that there is a difference. And I think that managing the tension of that, of just realizing that I just wanna be one of the ladies is different because you are not, and that is a God ordained position that he’s given our husbands.
So it’s hard to walk alongside of that sometimes that he was voted into it, but we as a family have been voted into it. And so I think that accepting that and praying about how you steward it is one of the biggest pieces, is that just acknowledging it, that is existing that is out there and what you say just does weigh a little bit differently now that your husband is in ministry.
So I think that it is hard, but I think a piece of just acknowledging it is helpful to know where you are instead of just walk in that hard spot. But to say that this is the reality and this is what it is. And I think just putting a word to it, Matt, was really helpful for us when we started talking about this, that it is, and dismissive power is not helpful.
As much as you want to say, I’m just nobody. It’s not helpful to be able to be effective in the role that God has called us to. So I think that’s one of the pieces of just acknowledging it and praying it through.
I think there’s an aspect too here. If I could just put my finger on something. I think there’s an aspect too of just self-awareness and knowing your tendency. If you have a tendency towards abuse, you need to be aware of that. Maybe as spouses, hold some accountability there.
But if you have a tendency towards dismissiveness, you need to be aware of that as well and be willing to address that. I have a very vivid memory in my mind of my first year of teaching when I was fresh out of college. It was like I had a summer school assignment and I walked into the classroom and I’m like four years older than these students, maybe five years older than some of them.
And I remember just standing in front of them. They kept looking around, waiting for the teacher to tell us what to do, and they were looking at me, waiting for me to tell them what to do. Just that juxtaposition where you realize, no, this is where I’m at. And, they’re looking to me just like I used to look to my own teachers.
And I don’t know if you have that feeling. And I know, I feel that often fairly new in the ministry still. Wanting just to be back into the pews and yet also knowing that people are looking into that. And I’ve been reminded lately as you look into Scriptures, God speaks to this.
And there’s times in the Scriptures when he’s really fairly clear. He’s telling, especially like in the early parts with the Israelites, he tells the Israelites, he says, you have power. You come into the Promised Land and into the land. You have power to look out for the least of these, those who have a need, those who need to be protected.
That’s really, really near to God’s heart and I think it’s an awareness piece for us to know that if we have a tendency towards dismissing it, to realize the opportunity that’s there to advocate for others. Now again, if our tendency is towards abuse, we have to be honest about that and hold each other accountable to that.
But not so far that we forget the other side and go to the other extreme. Arlan, I think this could be a good item for a counselor that we all might have in our life. Maybe we have a trusted brother or sister that we asked to speak into us, this might be a nice two little words to give them and say, Here’s another lens I want you to give me feedback on.
I want you to help me understand when I abuse power and help me understand when I dismiss power. And I think giving permission for trusted brothers and sisters to have this on their radar, I think, could be helpful. I think that is key, Matt. I think especially in leadership, you need to hear a multitude of voices.
I really believe that. And, you need to be able to hear voices that can speak critically to you and that you know love you. And, sometimes criticism comes in a way that’s not as loving. Other times it comes from people that you trust and you know that they love you very much. So it’s good to be able to cultivate those relationships.
And, those are, as you know, priceless relationships. The other thing that comes to my mind, and, Matt, I hope I’m not taking this thought in a way that you’re not intending here with this dismissive and abusive, but I think sometimes as ministers and elders when we don’t recognize how power can be abused and how it can be dismissed, sometimes people will come to us with an agenda.
And they’d want us to propagate that agenda. And, there might be something that they bring that is really good and we just dismiss it and we just don’t see our position as bringing this point to light or to taking it any further. The other side of that, is, I think we can take this input and it can become our agenda and we can start to drive that agenda and use our power because we are a lot of times the voice for that person.
And, when we take that, I think a lot of times our hearts are right. We’re wanting to do the right thing with that. But what happens is it can become such a cause sometimes that we aren’t submissive to those that we’re trying to influence or those that we’re trying to speak this issue to.
And, so I think it’s important that in power, we talked about how listening to voices that can share things that are hard for us to hear, but it’s being able to be submissive to those that we work with in the parts of the church that we make decisions and even within minister groups is that we as ministers, as we come to share some point that we realize that the other ministers have a view as well. We may be hearing one part of the church, but the other ministers are hearing other parts of the church and being able to submit to one another and work together on that, I think is really important. Our tendency sometimes is to set up stakes and set camps and use our power in abusive ways in those situations.
That’s just one that came to mind as you were bringing that slide there. I hope I didn’t take it where you didn’t want. Not at all. That’s good. Thank you. Just one thought. For me, I have two prayers that have more and more increasingly been on my heart that I didn’t really realize until thinking through this.
And, one is just a prayer that recognizing that this is God’s Church that each one of us serve in, and it’s not our church, but it’s his, helps me just maintain or hopefully maintain a perspective of even in maybe my best interest, trying to solve a problem that really isn’t mine to solve. But maybe I need to be that listening ear rather than the answer to a question or a solution to a problem, which probably goes a little bit more to the abusive side of trying to take control and solve something that really is God’s to work out. And then the other tension that you’ve been speaking of the dismissive part of that, another prayer that, again, early on in my ministry I was encouraged with is to just pray for a love for the church, a genuine, heartfelt love for the entire church.
And, to be willing to engage when maybe I’m not. My tendency is not to engage. But to have that Christlike love for each person, those that are hurting, those that are maybe in the corners of the church. Tim, you had mentioned before of being aware of that and asking God to place that upon our hearts of who do we need to go seek out.
And so it’s recognizing it’s God’s church, but he’s put us in a position to love his church and love each person within the church. Thanks for sharing that. And the engagement I think that you just spoke of really speaks to that dismissive piece to engage yourself. And I think that is a nice segue here to our last and final statement.
And that statement is simply that stewarded power should bless others. And I really think that’s what you were saying there, Lucas. So we have the opportunity to be power under people as opposed to power over people. And again, we said Jesus is our example. And isn’t that how what we see in Jesus and his power? By his death and resurrection, he began a ground swell of sorts and he then puts power within people and he buoys people up to serve and he commissions. Great commission. Because of that power, we see this tremendous example in Christ. That he has power underneath people as opposed to power over lording, over squashing, crushing.
And that is the abusive or could be dismissive there on the bottom side of that screen, power over. So, this could be a way perhaps to view the charge that we are given by Christ because all power has been given him to now go out and teach.
You know, Matt, I think this speaks a little bit to this idea of what I’ve been hearing. We’ve been dancing around this topic, but I think it’s an important topic to bring up, is just this idea of boundaries and how do we set boundaries around some of these situations we can find ourselves in?
Whether it’s someone comes to us, and wants to use our power to push an agenda or to use it over someone and how do we turn that into a situation where we are having power under like you have on the graphic here? I love the visuals of these two different groups of stick figures and the consequences of just that very simple choice of how we steward our power. So I’m curious, Tim and Deb, Lucas and Crystal, what have you found has been helpful as far as boundaries go in trying to navigate this tension? Any tips or ideas or things that you can you share with the rest of us?
Lucas, why don’t you go ahead. I think that what I found just for me personally, is it really starts with, and I don’t know if this really speaks to the boundaries, but maybe more of the power under versus over, walking into church if I have my heart prepared in the right way of the real purpose why I’m there. And in the world God has called us into is where I have to start in walking into church or into a potluck group or anything else. And that starts with a heart of humility. And, that enables me then to find the right balance between being that listening ear, when I need to be, or should be.
And there are times when I think we have to speak the truth in love, even when maybe somebody just wants to vent. I do think that there are times where we have to listen but also provide honest, candid speaking the truth in love, feedback, providing a different perspective. And, I think when we can do that with humility and trust, We can open up a dialogue where we can learn, but also we have that powerand influence, we can influence to good.
Katie, back to one of your original points, I think that’s really important for us is, yes, it’s certainly important to listen. It’s probably most of our time needs to be with listening, but we also need to be willing to share the truth in love based on a foundation of trust.
Thanks for sharing that, Lucas, a couple of times you’ve mentioned trust and I think that very much fits with what it would look like to steward power. I’m gonna pit a couple of words against each other that for me, helped me identify when I’m being power over and when I’m being power under.
And those two words are entitlement and thanksgiving. When I can smell entitlement in my life, that’s a really good indicator that I’m being powerful over or I am abusive in my power because I think I am deserving of, or I am warranted, to something. And, the anecdote to that is thanksgiving. If I am very thankful for a person or for what somebody else is doing, genuinely thankful. That is a good indicator that I’m being power under in expressing that thanks. I find those things to be very stark. So as we talk about the tension here tonight, I think there are some things that we can taste that are like, ooh, I think that comes from being power and lording over. I think that is what power under feels like, and I think that’s part of our objective here tonight as well, to cast some of those concepts. And, Matt, I love that point and there’s a passage that I really appreciate around this topic that we’ve talked about before around this topic.
It’s just a passage at the end of James 3 where it speaks about the contrast between worldly wisdom and the strife and the envy that it can engender versus godly wisdom and the pure peaceable gentleness, easiness to be entreated, mercy, good fruits, no partiality, no hypocrisy, that meekness of wisdom that comes from that godly wisdom that I think is a really, at least, has always been a really good heart check for myself.
You can start to sense the fruits going down one path or down the other path, and it’s usually a pretty good indication of where my heart is as far as boundaries go around this idea of power and stewarding power. I’d like to point out two questions that came in directly to this group, which I think fit in really closely here.
And if you would, switch slides, Matt, it’s the next slide. You’ve got the first question there about how do you cultivate genuine relationships that provide support as well as honest feedback. I really like that question. We’ve talked about it a little bit there. What have you found, Tim, you alluded to it earlier, How have you done this and has it been possible in the local church? Have you had to go outside the local church to another church just because of all the dynamics within the local church? How have you found accountability from relationships like this? Well, first I really appreciate the question because I think the information that you’ve shared so far just really resonates with what I’ve experienced so far in my life.
And just as we look at this one, I think for those of us that do have a spouse, I’m very, very thankful that she can speak truth to me. I don’t always like it, and I’m not gonna say I like it all the time, but I’m thankful that she can share with me things sometimes that I’m sure no one else would or very rarely. The other thing is that you find too, within the church, there are some people that they’re just always there even through the valleys and through the high times. It’s when you reconnect with them, and maybe even there’s been a time you haven’t been with them, but when you’re connected with them you and them can feel the same. You’re on the same wavelength. And so there will be some of those, I think, in the church, or at least we have found some in our dear church here in Peoria. The other thing that I have been very, very thankful for, and I think even when I was a minister and not an elder.
There was ministers outside of the Peoria Church that you could have relationships with that could give you perspectives that maybe I wouldn’t have noticed here in Peoria. I find that with the elders as well, is that there are some elders that I’ve created some very, very special relationships with sometimes sharing some very hard things and just some things, some struggles or some, some burdens or just some challenges maybe that’s going on and been able to get advice from. And a lot of times they have clearer eyes because they’re not as involved in it.
And so I think this Scripture says it really clear is there’s safety in a multitude of counselors and I have found that so and as there are things sometimes that happen here locally, I will normally get a couple of other inputs. Just to say, am I thinking right? Am I seeing the things that I should be seeing?
And then a lot of times, I share it with the local ministers as well trying to get their input and their feedback. So I guess I could just say I’ve been blessed that way and I’m thankful for those types of relationships. I was gonna ask you your thoughts. I just appreciate the intentionality.
Some of the most special relationships have been other ministers’ wives and elders’ wives. It’s just something that you just don’t understand until you’re doing it, some of the things that are involved. And so I’m very, very thankful for that and I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through some of the things without some of the friendships of the other wives and really appreciate that. But I also have found that there’s always something a little bit missing in my own myself with my church family. When I have reached out and tried to, Matt, you said just be thankful and to go with a thankful heart to church and who can I bless today? For many years, prayed for a special friendship with someone in the Peoria Church, another woman, and God has answered those prayers. It’s taken a while, but it’s good. And my relationship with the other sisters and friends in the Peoria Church is good.
And mainly I can say it’s first because of Christ, but also I had to just put myself out there and stop being so fearful of what they think of me or whatever, and being fearful that I’m gonna say something that I shouldn’t say. I do have to always be careful of that but I need those relationships with the women in my church too.
Thanks, Deb. We’re getting close to the bottom of the hour and in just a couple minutes, I’m gonna allow, if you wanna unmute your mic and ask a question, we have time for maybe one or two questions. But just as a transition, one of the points that another question that came up, not the one that’s on your screen right now, but another question that was submitted was this idea on how do you navigate someone who wants to, is kind of similar to the point that you brought up earlier, Tim, someone who wants to seem to use your position for their agenda.
How do you navigate that with truth and grace. I was mindful earlier, I think Lucas, you spoke to this idea that sometimes you listen, but then sometimes we are called to speak the truth in love. And I think that combination is really critical. I think that sometimes we have to be honest with those situations that they emerge and we have to be willing to step into that and share the truth in love. It’s usually the person with the more power, if you wanna use that term, it’s up to them set the boundaries. Others will follow your lead and it behooves us to be wise about how we’re stewarding that power and allowing or not allowing ourselves to be used in that manner for that purpose.
I wanted to call out those two questions I think were really powerful questions that were submitted earlier. Anybody who wants to ask a quick question that you have just a clarification or thought, feel free to unmute your mic and speak into it.
Otherwise, we’ll bring this evening to a close here shortly.
I’m seeing no movement on the mics, and so I just would wanna offer an opportunity for anybody on the screen here. Any of you, Frank’s, Funks, or Matt, any last thoughts or any last comments, anything you wanted to share here in closing as we think about this topic, or Katie, you can share too.
One thing that just came to my mind as you were talking, Arlan, about boundaries, I think that the practical boundaries of a Sunday are really helpful. We’ve learned this over the years. It was our 13th year into it and we’ve learned it over the years, but, just like we’ve talked about before when you entered a church and say, Who can I bless today?
It’s not about sitting with my best friends, it’s about who I can bless today. But realizing the reality of you are going to serve at church and so you are gonna have a full day of serving, of listening. And just knowing that reality. So that means maybe after church we have a boundary time of some quiet time at the house.
Or on Saturday night we have some boundaries of a quiet evening or maybe we don’t do this activity or something. So I think some of those, it helps for us to go into it and to have clear expectations of it is gonna be a service day. It’s a day that we offer to the Lord, as opposed to us getting fed, but us of serving others.
And so realizing that, but realizing that we also do need to take some time for the rest of our Sabbath. And so I think that’s one thing that we’ve fallen into over the years of learning that. So I would encourage any new ministers out there to find what works for you and your family of realizing that it is a day of service as opposed to just, I don’t know why we’re so tired all the time, but realizing that it, it is a day of service.
And then the other piece that I just wanted to say was, I think when you asked about accountability and who can do honest feedback, I think Lucas and I have developed a close relationship with a very few amount of people who love us enough, who can give us honest feedback. But I also think the ministry team.
You guys are very diverse, but yet you’re very united. And I think that having a ministry team that is able and has the relationship that they can give each other honest feedback really helps. They know all the pieces that are out there and they can give honest feedback and I think that’s a real blessing.
Thanks Crystal. Really appreciate that point. Anything else, Tim or Deb or Katie?
I agree with everything that’s been said.
Matt, any last thoughts? No, I don’t. I’ve said enough tonight. Thanks. Well, Katie, any last thoughts? No. Okay. Pleasure to be here. Well, thank you all for joining us and thanks to each of you couples. Tim and Deb, Lucas and Crystal, really thankful for taking time to be with us tonight. And, our prayer is that we’ve raised some thoughts, some observations, some things to consider to prayerfully take before the Lord.
And, with that multitude of counselors and purpose together as a ministry team, as a ministry couple, as individuals, of the ministers of the gospel to seek to steward power for the opportunity that God gives us. Really appreciate you joining us tonight. We will have one more webinar for the year in December on resiliency in difficult times, and we’ll be sending more information out later about that.
You can register for it already from previous emails if you got it. So thanks again for being with us and I really appreciate. Hope you have a blessed night. Thanks so much. Have a good day. Thanks.
Ministry Changes Relationships
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.”James 3:17
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