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Staying Close to your Enemies

I was in my new pastorate for less than three months when one of the founding laymen took me to lunch.

"It seems to me," he started out, "and I've confirmed this with a number of other key people in the church, that you may not be the right person for this job after all." He pointed to a couple of insignificant (at least to me) changes I had made in the worship service that offended some people in our music program.

"In fact," he warned, "a growing number of people don't like you or where you're leading the church. I'm not sure those people will remain in the church if you stay."

As a pastor, I must maintain healthy relationships with all the people in the church, even those with whom that is difficult. Put bluntly, "How do I shepherd people who don't like me? And whom I don't really like?"

Resist what comes naturally

In ministry, doing what comes naturally is often the best approach. At the bedside of a hospital patient, with families at a funeral, or when sharing the ...

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