When you’re in church ministry you have to take a lot of rubbish, of people whose attitudes are working against what you are trying to achieve and what you all, in theory, agreed was what you believe God wants.
You can spend hours preparing something, working with people, building on a vision that everyone says they share – only to find that, behind the scenes, there is grumbling and whingeing.
And of course, you’re the last one to know … no matter how many times you say to people, ‘Please be honest with us and say things to our faces, then we can work on the changes together. If you just grumble to each other, how are things going to change?’
This piece of reasoning falls on deaf ears :lalala:. It is more fun grumbling.
I’m not talking about things against myself personally. But in ministry you have to learn to empty yourself, to really listen to what people are saying – and also, to what they are not saying. You have to read body language, read the rest of the group (how many share this opinion?), tuck your own reactions firmly away and try and listen to God too, so that you keep perspective.
When one or two are very outspoken and always negative, it is very easy for both the ministers and the rest of the church to assume that ‘everyone’ feels the same way. In fact, it is always worth looking at it with care,|-| because the chances are that the negative people are carefully walked-round by everyone else, and nobody has the courage to tackle them because nobody wants the grief.
Of course we work generally on attitudes, through worship and teaching and fellowship … but when we come up against how little impact it seems to have on some people, then it can be thoroughly dispiriting.
Today was such a day. A good walk would have dispelled some of my ‘church blues’, but it is tipping down with rain :**:.
So where do we go, with our own negative feelings? To lose our tempers with the people involved :> would be honest, but entirely counter-productive, because off they would go in a huff, and dine out on how they left the church because of the terrible minister for evermore… :crazy: If we do nothing with our upset and disappointed feelings, ignore them or dismiss them or pretend we don’t have them, they have a habit of coming back when you’re not looking and biting you on the bum 88|.
Hub and I are lucky – we can come home and tip it out to each other. And of course we can – and do – pray :##, because this is God’s job more than it’s ours. But we also have to be honest with ourselves.
So why am I getting upset about this? Is it because I feel unappreciated, unsupported? 😥 If so, tough – you are just feeling sorry for yourself, get over it.
Is it because people are not changing, are not showing the marks of a committed Christian life? Now this is more important – but what can you do, more than you’re doing? The inner transformation is a work of the Spirit. Our job is to provide the opportunity to change – you can’t do it for people :no:. AND – see above. Is this a general problem? Or is it just one or two who have got on your wick today?? Answer the question!!
And it is not a good idea to go around having heated conversations with said people in your head …>:XX
If there’s nothing you can do, do nothing. Dump it in God’s lap, and go and do something to cheer yourself up. :wave: