I grew up in a small town. This mindset was prominent in the churches in our area. There is the idea that exists in people's minds that goes something like this: "Because I support the local church financially I have authority in the life of the leader." In other words, "Don't you know that you work for me? I pay your salary."
There are a few things backwards about this way of thinking. 1. It's not in Scripture. 2. It's manipulation on the behalf of the church member. The list for this is much longer - but these two are most prominent in my mind.
We have to remember that this is not about us. This is ministry, not manipulation.
Good Is Good Enough
Jim Collins said: "Good is the enemy of great". If you are going to do anything in the ministry, let me encourage you to do it with excellence. We are not asking for perfection - just excellence.
You Owe Me
If ever there is a toxic mindset in the church, it's the "You owe me" mentality. Maybe this relates to the first one we discussed - "you work for me". This poisonous mindset is the brother of the first mind-set mentioned above. They walk hand in hand. Here are some examples of "You owe me".
"I gave you my time, what are going to do for me?"
"I deserve recognition for the hard work I have done at this church".
"I was one of the founding members of this church and I have the right to be heard".
"I am entitled to… ___________" Just fill in the blank.
The "you owe me" mindset will destroy your staff, your momentum, your finances, and your commitment. People who think like this still think that church is about them and for them.
How do we avoid these? Here are 3 ways to avoid and address these poisonous thoughts in your volunteers and staff.
- Don't give up on people who are unhealthy. They can be taught how to be healthy. Give them a chance to correct the poisonous behavior. However, do not allow them to infect others. You must manage the wounded while bringing healing. Coach, teach, mentor, and align them with God's Word. 2 Timothy 3:16
- Pray for discernment on when or how to remove people from leadership. If they are a volunteer, pray for wisdom and surround yourself with people of wisdom in how to address the toxic person. Once you get direction, move carefully in removing them from volunteering. Also, follow-up with them after you remove them to extend love. James 1:5
- Good, solid, healthy teaching from the stage is essential. However, we cannot use the stage as a means of rebuke for one or two people. Others should not be hit by the shot meant for a few. We have to be more mature leaders than to do something like this. I have done this - and it profits nothing. However, we should be leading and teaching the desired values and vision to our local church, often. Vision corrects values. If we teach a healthy vision, values will align over time. We must be slow to anger, and slow to speak - particularly from out position on stage. James 1:19-20
How do you as a leader address these mindsets? Do you face them in your own life? If so, how do you deal with them personally?
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