Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


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Dealing Wisely With People

  • Jim Townsley
  • Nov 19, 2009

The following article originated with my friend Pastor Russ MacKay from British Columbia, Canada.

King David is dying; Solomon is now king. David challenges Solomon to be strong, to be a man, to obey the Lord, to go forward and to deal decisively with those who threatened the throne. Solomon led forward wisely and decisively. I Kings 2:12 says, "and his kingdom was established greatly." Adonijah, Joab and Shemei provide a snapshot of some of the challenging people you will face in ministry.

I have heard many experienced pastors say that there is usually a honeymoon period when a pastor assumes a pastorate or starts a church but eventually you will encounter problems with people. It's a shock to the system when you wake up to the reality that everyone doesn't like you. Sometimes you will face challenging, difficult and rebellious people in the ministry. Solomon provides us with wisdom about how to deal wisely with difficult people. Solomon deals fairly and decisively with every one of his enemies and sets a precedent for his future leadership. God will allow difficult people to enter your life to change you, teach you, and establish you as the leader of your congregation. We can learn great insights into human nature from this chapter.

Pastoring requires submission to God.Pastoring requires a humble spirit. Laugh at yourself; admit your failures and mistakes.Pastoring isn't a destination but a journey of growth. When you become a pastor it doesn't mean you know everything; it doesn't mean that every one should agree with you. It doesn't mean you're always right; it doesn't mean you are any better than your congregationPastoring requires seeking wisdom from God and counsel from godly men.Pastoring is a call to serve God and serve people.

To be established greatly as the pastor of your congregation you must:

1. Deal honestly with people

Provide a clear doctrinal statementGive every church responsibility a job description (Our church has a book of job descriptions for every area of service, which includes a code of conduct and a dress code. For a sample you may request this by return email.)Provide a clear philosophy of operation either in the church constitution or in a separate written form.When people have doctrinal or philosophical differences try to teach them as long as they are teachable. When they are not teachable it is wise to clarify your differences and give them the opportunity to leave and find another ministry without embarrassment.Give new believers time to mature and grow. Don't expect them to change in one week everything they learned for thirty years.Don't play politics with people. Saying what people want to hear in order to keep them attending is dishonest and dangerous.When you make a mistake readily admit it. Honesty in confession shows humility and builds support among followers. They know you are seeking only the truth.

2. Desire God's best for people

One of the greatest challenges of a pastor is to keep people focused on the Lord and loving one another. Our goal should be Christ, not just a big church. Members should learn by the pastor's example how to love and care for all the brethren.

3. You must confront people about their spiritual needs.

If someone in your congregation has a spiritual problem, deal with their problem privately. Don't use your pulpit to fix them. You can't confront every error in every person, but when sinful behavior influences the congregation or the leadership it must be confronted. One of two things will happen when you confront someone about their sin: 1. Humble repentance or 2. Stubborn resistance. When you speak the truth in love.... Some will love you. – Some will fold their arms and hate you.

4. You must love people and guard your spirit towards those who are against you. Ephesians 4:29 – 5:2

Dr. Greg Adams said, "Hurting people – hurt people." Understanding God's greater purpose in trials will produce maturity and develop your leadership skills for the future. Recognize God is still on the throne and continue to focus on His purpose for your ministry.

5. You must walk wisely with regard to your enemies.

David charged Solomon to be strong, to be a man, to obey God, to go forward, and to deal decisively with his enemies. Adonijah, Joab and Shimei had proven to be rebels during David's reign and he knew that Solomon had to stand strong against them or they would surely threaten his leadership and kingdom.

Enemies will seek to push their own agenda. - JoabEnemies will seek fellow rebels. - AdonijahEnemies will seek the bleeding hearts in your congregation. - AdonijahEnemies will challenge your resolve. -Shimei

God will allow people like these three to enter your church and test your resolve as a leader. Beg God for wisdom. James 1:5

Seek counsel from your pastor on how to handle the matter. Every pastor needs a pastor. Matt. 9:36Personal conflicts are very unsettling. Learn to pray about them. Ask God to intervene on your behalf.But don't push them under the carpet. Realize you will probably have to act.Thank God for every spiritual conflict – God has something to teach you.

When you take a stand against a rebel, some very good people in your congregation will think you are being too hard. It is wise when confronting a rebel to have a trusted and spiritual brother with you. Solomon was proactive. He made the rules. He was upfront and fair. He was resolved to follow through. Solomon was not double-minded, he kept his word, and he wasn't moved from principle by his emotions. Solomon was a good steward of the Kingdom.

We must learn to be proactive, upfront, and fair. Good leaders must be resolved to keep their word; they cannot be moved away from principle by their emotions. When problems arise, as they sometimes do, we must not react with anger. Instead, seek wisdom from God, and respond in faith with a heart of love. Remember, its important how you deal with a problem rather than just proving you are right. If you are right, but not humble, it will offend others in the church. Preachers have a great responsibility in dealing with problems and we must always follow biblical principles as we face every difficulty.