Obnoxious Christians

54646zsoxwuhvv5It is difficult to evangelize someone who will not listen to you.  There are many reasons why they will not give you their time.  One of them is your lack of people skills.  You don’t know how to relate to people.

There are two things on earth that will last forever: the Word of God and the souls of people.  The Lord’s servants are called upon to bring the former to the latter.  Speaking about the truth of Scripture into the air is simply not enough; we must bring it to people through relationships we have forged with them.  People often judge the credibility and value of the message by the credibility and value of the messenger.  Leaders must, therefore, have high potency lives and refined ministry skills that enhance and provide thrust to what we say.

DEALING WITH OTHER PEOPLE:  Humans are incurably selfish.  Sin has made us fraught through with self-orientation and self-rule.  We want to rule ourselves, rule our circumstances and rule others.  No one is born deferring to others or knowing how to relate well to others.  We learn (or should learn) throughout our childhood that there are authorities, structures and people outside ourselves, and that we are far happier when we learn mutual submission and others-orientation.  Some children learn this lesson easily, others struggle, and still others never learn and carry their stubborn self-orientation into adulthood.

But recognizing other people exist and are valuable is only the beginning.  Many of us have known people who are devoted to Christ, committed in their Christian walk, and knowledgeable in God’s Word and theology … but they are clueless when it comes to dealing with people.  Some are withdrawn and backward; others are overbearing and inflexible.  They are stilted in their demeanor, awkward in conversation, and out-of-reach in their ideas.

LEARNING PEOPLE SKILLS:  Therefore, a necessary component of being equipped for effective ministry is learning how to relate to people, something we call “people skills.”  No matter how sharp your technical skills, or how refined your theological prowess, your social skills often draw the distinction between those merely “in the ministry” and those actually “doing the ministry.”  In the people-skills evaluation process, an emerging leader can start by evaluating where he or she is on the “task-people continuum.”

Hypothetical:  Two emerging leaders arrive at the church building 15 minutes before and event and have five things to do before the event begins.  They enter the lobby in which eight people are standing.  What would you do?  The first one stops at the first person and begins asking about the other person, the second gives a broad hello, looks down at his papers and heads for the office.  After 15 minutes, the second leader has all five things done and is ready for the event to begin; the second still has five things to do.  The first leader has ministered to six people; the second has ministered to none.  Which would you likely be?  Can there be a balance?

It is hard to say what is inborn personality and what is learned behavior, but most adults tend to be either task-oriented or people-oriented, and it is fun to talk among yourselves which way you tend to be.  In ministry, it is optimal to have a balance between the two.  Those with great people skills need to learn routine, time management, project management, etc.  Those who are naturally task-oriented need to develop their people skills.  Over time, a person can change and achieve a good balance.  How does a person learn a balance?  He or she needs a mentor.

Article by Dave Brown







Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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