One of the things that is so amazing about God’s creation is how diverse he has made us all. Some of us love exercise, others love video games. Some of us love being around large groups of people, others enjoy their alone time. God has made us all very different, which makes relationships even more valuable. Relationships have the ability to enrich your life and to transform it. At our church, we often say that “Relationships are the vehicle for transformation”, and it’s true. So much of what happens in ministry, happens through the avenue of relationships.
Now in leadership, and ministry especially, it can become so easy to sometimes forget about the relationship with the people you’re working with. I have watched far too often as people are seen as nothing more than ‘pawns’ or ‘cogs’ in the giant ministry machine. We use people to get to our desired end, neglecting the relationship, or basing the relationship solely on productivity. The tragedy that happens when people become ‘objects’ rather than ‘friends’ is we begin to treat them as such. This affects both our care for them and our communication with them.
The moment this is never more evident is when things aren’t going your way. When circumstances aren’t working out in your favor, it can be easy to start seeing those around you as nothing more than ‘objects’ to help you solve your problem. And when this happens, our relational communication with those people takes a hit. You see, with a friend you have difficult conversations face-to-face, not via text or email, and especially not on their Facebook wall. But when a person is just an object to you, face-to-face, relational communication is no longer valuable. My challenge to you as a leader or ministry leader is this: Take the relational high road. Allow those you’re working with, serving and caring for to always be seen through a relational lens. Treat them with respect. While you probably won’t agree with everyone, do your very best to honor everyone. Here are a few tips with this in mind:
- Have the hard conversations in person, not through digital communication.
- When you’re leading people, see them as real people, not simply pawns who are there to serve you.
- Even with your digital communication, don’t simply share info, but make sure you’re also fostering your ongoing relationship. (“How are you?” and “Thank you very much!” can go a long way.)