Working With Difficult People
Easy Basic Steps on How to Be a Good Worship Leader
Step 8: Working EWith Difficult People
Prayer is the number one key on how to be a Good Worship Leader. Our second step was Evaluation of our congregation. The third step was Selecting a Team the fourth step was about making Good Transitions. The fifth step shares How to Introduce New Music, the 6th step is Learning from our Mistakes, the 7th step is suggestions for the Order of Worship, and our 8th step is about Working With Difficult People.
There will always be difficult people to work with wherever you serve in ministry. They come in many forms. You have those who are disagreeable; those who have all the answers; those who are tunnel vision; those who are resentful; those who shoot down any new ideas, and many more as you probably already know about.
What are the answers in working with these people? I do not know all the answers, only what I can look back and see from my own personal experiences of working with people. I would like to share with you some reason why we see this difficulty, and how we can respond to allow God to help our own selves through this time.
- Accept them. We cannot run from difficult people. We cannot ignore them and hope it will go away. We cannot pray them away. God has a plan for us through these difficult people in our lives. He has allowed them to be sent our way. The sooner we accept that, we can begin to see what that plan is for us.
- God Wants to Change You. The hardest lessons to learn are those that are painful and a thorn in our side. The smallest thorn in a finger is painful and a big bother. It is too easy to look at the other person and put all the blame on them as the whole problem. We think that if they were removed it would be all better and things would be smoother. Maybe, and maybe not. If people did what we wanted all the time, we would be taking away their individuality or freedom. How can we grow spiritual if everyone around us is agreeable to our wishes and always pleasant? That is only an ideal situation to have! God uses people and circumstance to prune us, to help us see ourselves, our shortcomings, and reveal our endurance and frustration levels. Discomfort brings change in us if we allow God to use it to help us rely more in him in trust and faith for the outcome.
- Love them. We have a world of people who need love. Many feel unloved, insecure, and lonely. Loving difficult people will change our heart toward them. If we do not love them, it will be revealed eventually in how we treat them. Our love needs to be genuine. It will take God’s (Agape) love in our hearts in order to do this.
- Get to Know Them. When we get close to people and spend time with them, we find out more about them. We begin to understand them better. We learn about why they think and do things the way they do. God will give us an understanding heart like he did Solomon. He will give us wisdom in our judgments and words with them. We must pray for this to happen in our heart. Take them out for lunch just to talk – refrain from church conversation if possible. Just listen to them. Encourage them to talk about their family, past, school, things that may help you see a glimpse into their past giving you a greater understand of them.
There will be times when you will need to stay away from situations or topics that could escalate disagreements between you and the disagreeable person. Stay off the telephone with them and try to minimize lengthy conversations. The longer you talk with someone the more likely things will be said that would be better off left unsaid. Plan to discuss things with them when someone else is present whom you trust to keep confidence. Send an email to them with a copy to your pastor or church secretary.
- Put Yourself in Their Shoes. Until you have walked in the shoes of someone else, you do not know how they feel. You cannot understand why they react the way they do. So we really cannot pass judgment on them, which is not our place anyhow. Some people react the way they do because they were treated that way. They may have been ridiculed as a child in school. They may have always had a bigger sibling who received more attention making them feel left out or not important. They may have had to defend themselves having no one else to do that for them growing up. Their parents may have argued allot and that is the only behavior in which they learned to express themselves. They may be insecure wanting to be in the limelight, and feel threatened when someone else gets the spotlight. That is how they feel worthwhile. Some many brag often because of insecurities in their past. They may not have a good relationship and trust in God the Father, due to their relationship with their own earthly father. There are more reasons than I can name for why people react the way they do. Before we are too critical with them, think about their life and how it may have been difficult for them from past issues.
- Watch Your Attitude. Be careful here! You are the leader and others are watching. How you respond toward disrespect, bad attitudes, complaining people, will effect how they view you. Watch what you say to those who work with you about those who cause problems or dissension. Do not talk with them about it or discuss it in any negative way. Gossip can spread and will hurt you in the end if you are not careful. Show a Christ like spirit under pressure as well. This will take prayer on your behalf and relying on God’s strength. Get good sleep, exercise, and spend plenty of time with God.
- Include Them. Make them feel like they are important. It is probably what they want anyhow. Use them somehow, if possible. Let them know they are appreciated, when they do a good job. Be kind, yet cautious.
- Pray for Them. You will need to not only pray for them, but for yourself as much. God can change you both; it is amazing how God will work when we pray. I once knew a most difficult person, that I begin to pray for every day earnestly along with myself. God began to move in a miraculous way that I was amazed myself. This person began to change. God also changed me in my responses toward them. I saw the greatest change in their attitudes and reactions. God still answers prayer. Another time, a young woman treated me ugly as well as her parents for no reason. I was in a leadership position that bothered her for some reason, I believe. I prayed earnestly for God to change the situation and He did. It was amazing! I will never forget those two instances where God moved mightily, and showed His power to prayer. It takes earnest consistency in prayer, and God will move. He may not move like we want, when we want, and then He may decide that we are the ones He wants to change through this person. God knows best!
- Distance Yourself From Them. There are those difficult people that no matter what you do, you will not please them. You may try to apologize and they will not accept it unless you say it the way they think you should. Once, I apologized to a college professor who would not accept my apology because I said the word “If” in my apology. I did not feel I had done any wrong to them; however, it would have been best if I had left off the word “If”. Another time, I apologized to someone who pretty much called me a liar, which was not the truth. I took the blame and told them I may have made a mistake, knowing that I did not. They would not accept the apology, because they said I still believed it otherwise. I could not say it any other way, because then I would have been lying. Some people, you will never be able to please, and will just have to do your best, if at all possible, to work with them. There will be times they need removed if you are to continue to do your job successfully and God be honored with the ministry. Hopefully, your pastor will be able to work with this if he/she wants you both to continue working together. If at all possible, try to find a common ground that you both agree on, where you can continue ministry in an effective way.
© Kidzministy.net Jeanne McIntosh April 29, 2011.