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the elephant in the room

It’s easy to want to change something, then find out that most people are comfortable with the status quo, and just sit back and keep quiet in meetings. We don’t want to put our job in jeopardy by saying something offensive or stupid. And if we’re being honest here, we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.

But my challenge to you today that if we’re not willing to have difficult conversations and to be honest with each other, our churches will not grow.

If your staff is excited, alive, communicating, trusting and loving each other, then that will lead your church forward. I cannot imagine what God could continue to do through you as a team if you without question, trust and love each other.

There is great power in naming the awkward issues no one wants to talk about. We each think everyone knows what they are. But until we put words to them, change won’t happen.

Our real challenge is to decide which is more destructive – acknowledging the elephant & dealing with it or ignoring it and seeing the damage it does to your church.

Once we start naming elephants when the stakes are low, it gets easier and easier and then we’re ready to do that when the stakes are high.

Are there people on your teams that you need to have difficult conversations with? Staff members? Family members?

Controversy can be the beginning of seeing something in a new way.

Often people become passive and choose not to do anything rather than risk making a mistake.

Next Steps:

  • Question assumptions of the team
  • Understand multiple versions of reality exist
  • Pay attention to your gut as an important clue that something may be wrong
  • Challenge the status quo and welcome challenge from others
  • Recognize that a leader has the power to direct others beyond their intention & wields it wisely
  • Create a climate of trust and dialogue
  • Take risks
  • Continually strive to be honest – it’s an ongoing exercise, not a stable state
  • Be open to opposing points of view
  • Show genuine appreciation for honest feedback
  • Be patient with people who don’t immediately understand; their confusion may hold clues to the team’s learning
  • Work so that people don’t need a great deal of caution & tact when they talk to you


Shawn said…
Good post, and how true it is. Are you going to expand your thoughts on the next steps? I think each of those could be good individual posts.Thanks for sharing your thoughts

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