Facing Conflict at work? 6 Skills to help you through

One of the hardest things, I deal with is helping worship leaders work through conflict and brokenness in their churches.  If you have spent any time around the church you will realize that conflict resolution skills and experience are a must for a team.  People will hurt you! People will disagree with you! People will sin!

The challenge for the worship leader is to develop and maintain a healthy relationships with all the staff that he works with regularly as well as the others in leadership at his church.  Whether you serve at a church of 100 or 4,000, the skills that will help you survive the certainty of conflict are essential.

Here is my short list.

Meet regularly with a colleague outside your situation. Don’t do this alone!  If you have opportunity to meet with other like minded leaders do it.  Don’t meet with an opposite sex leader, recipe for disaster there.  You don’t need to confide in you co-worker or assistant.  The best place to begin isn’t your wife either!  Take time to find another worship leader or person you trust and begin to talk regularly about the stresses and challenges of your work.

 

Humble Yourself! Remember The enemy is roaring lion!  You are a target! Don’t ever forget that!  The evil one wants to make you completely unfruitful and unproductive, angry, hurt, bitter and toxic.  Remember and memorize this verse.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV)

Learn about conflict  read a few good books and take a class or two!

The Peacemaker: A Biblical Guide to Resolving Personal Conflict
Related Article from Peacemaker Ministries: Accountability: The Mark of a Wise and Protected Leader

 

Develop good boundaries No one needs to be taken advantage of.  If you find yourself, in a hurtful and abusive situation you need to know how to recognize it and deal with it.

Boundaries: Henry Cloud and John Townsen

Safe People: 

Necessary Endings

 

Remember Sin and conflict is not always intentional!  One of the most important things I have learned over the years is that people are sinners!  People and leadership teams don’t think! People and leadership teams are unwise  and sometimes People and leadership teams are intentionally sinful!

One of the best books to read about his concept is Bold Love by Dan Allender.

 

Choose Joy! You will grow to be like Christ!  I hate it when i grumble to my wife about some issue that is bothering me. (yes I’m also prone to talk to my wife)  She looks at me and says, “you’re gonna be so shiny.”  As much as it bothers me, she is right!

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4 ESV)

It is my prayer that you never have to encounter a situation at your church and ministry that causes conflict and pain, but you will!  Don’t despair!

Jesus hasn’t left his throne! He is praying for you! You are not alone!

 

The Idol of Perfection in Worship Arts

Worship-Leading-630x419Every Artist and Creative must struggle with the tension between perfection and process!

Perfection,

  • the creative moments in worship where music and text fit together and connect with the worshippers;
  • the times when playing music flows from the heart and its more than notes and verse;
  • when everything falls into place.

Process,

  • when you realize that you have just sung through an entire set of music,
  • including readings and prayers to find that you have been thinking about something else entirely;
  • those times where frustration over the people you work with sours the whole experience of music;
  • that time when that worship service you plan gets pushed aside for another idea that you really think is void of all creativity.

I don’t know about you but I’ve been realizing that most of my time as a worship leader is process.  I have been thinking about the times when I pursue a different goal than Jesus. My commitment isn’t to the team of people God has given me to work with but rather I pursue ways to get my own needs met!   When I consider how often I struggle for approval from others, looking for value in my work, or seeking security and safety through doing a great job I see how often I try to get these needs met in my job and thru people rather than learning that my needs are ultimately met by Christ.  I have acceptance, value and security because of what He thinks of me and what he has done for me.

Developing a Team approach to Worship Arts is important for the worship leader as it directly addresses our tendency to hold all the responsibility for worship on our shoulders.  When I realize that I am better when I have a team, I am then able to see the process of creating and producing worship services as the result of what we do together.  I no longer take criticism as a personal affront but approach feedback as a way to help us work better together.

Perfection is something I see as an idol connected to my need for acceptance. Instead of seeking acceptance from my performance, I see that Jesus and He alone is the perfection I need.  In his perfect life and obedience to His heavenly father, he gained merit that I can’t attain.  For perfection is needed to be able to live in harmony with God.  I also can’t make up for my mistakes before God.  Just as a note played can never be recovered, my sinful worship, my love of self, my obsession with approval with others shows me my heart loves those things more than I love God.  That is sin.

So by realizing that Jesus lived a life of perfection and is perfectly accepted by His Father, never sinning and perfectly doing everything right I see the answer.

When I become a Christian by embracing the message of the gospel, I find that Jesus Himself died so I would not be punished for my sin.  He also lived perfectly so I would not have to do everything perfectly to have credit and acceptance before God.  The gospel not only frees me from punishment of sin, but I also am freely given all of Jesus goodness.  So as I am “In Christ” I am not only forgiven I am blessed! The father looks at me now and sees my work, and sees it as a father looks toward his son.  He can say “good job, lets work on that, and maybe you can try it like this.”

By believing these two things and living by faith each moment, I can stay in the process! I can leave perfection to Jesus.  To allow myself and others room to fail.  To offer forgiveness to myself and to others by the same grace I get from Jesus and my Father!

Maybe this will help you as you continue on the journey!

Buddy

 

Life Coaching

The Art of Life Coaching

When I consider what it looks like to fulfill the great commission I can get overwhelmed.  Jesus commands us to make disciples, bring them into fellowship in the Church, and provide places for them to grow to maturity.  In my life context, I have been considering how to be part of Jesus plan by investing in people who share a love for creativity and art.  This whole Atlanta Arts Network idea is at root a movement of artistic believers who understand the need to grow in their faith to live out the vision of Christ.  But getting my mind around how this works in just my own local church is daunting at best.  This is why my focus at first has been on a few leaders both in my church and also in Atlanta.

While this blog isn’t about our methods of building a ministry or the over all philosophy it is important to remind myself at times that Atlanta Arts Network is a Network.  Made up of individual churches who are capturing a vision to build arts communities.  For this to happen I am praying for a grass roots movement of individuals who love creative people and love to invest in them.

I am convinced that one of the tools that must be embraced for this to work is Life Coaching.  For a pastor or lay person to begin to see artists join the community of Christ, they must first know how to determine where a person is in their spiritual journey.  They must also know where they need to go next.  I serve in a larger ministry, Worldwide Discipleship Association, that has been building mature disciples for 40 years.  One of the tools we use is called Life Coaching.

For Arts Communities to grow in our churches we will need creatives who have a heart to pour their lives into others.  Life Coaching teaches how to make this happen.  But what do you have to know to be a life coach? I think there are five points that are helpful to remember.  Relationship, Promise, Faith, and Plan.

Life Coaching is Relational.  

WDA* believes that it all starts with Relationships!  Relationships take time.  Time is the critical component for discipleship and Life Coaching.  Jesus called the disciples at first to come and see.  He went into their world. (John 1:38-40)

Life Coach’s know God’s promises.

Jesus understood that they needed to know the promises of God. They would have heard his pronouncement that the kingdom of God was in their midst.  (Luke 4:16-18)

A Life Coach has to have faith in God.  

Jesus begins the great commission by stating that He is the one with authority.  It is not faith in myself, but trust in Him.  He the King is building people to Christlikeness.  He is the one who also will be with me! (Matthew 28:18-20)

Life Coaches have to have a plan.

Jesus modeled for all of us how to help people grow to maturity.  He spend 3 years taking time in relationship, teaching content, helping them apply and holding the disciples accountable, praying for and with them, as well as creating situations where they could put into practice what he was teaching them.

WDA Life Coaching is a great tool for anyone who has heart to help someone grow but might not know how to go about it.  It takes time to invest in someone else. It will cost us.  In the process, I learn to remember God’s promises, live by faith and I can follow his plan.

Sure not everyone feels like they are gifted as a disciple maker.  There are those who might be called to pursue making disciples as their primary calling.  For the artist, Life Coaching is an art too!  For us to be part of God’s work in our churches, we will need creativity in how to make disciples.  It might not be a formal program but it might be one person who God has brought into our lives.  It might be a musician who plays in worship.  It might be someone who shares a similar love for our form of art.  It might also grow to a community of artists who are living in community together, creating, serving, loving and contributing to the flourishing of our world.

What do you think?  How could life coaching be part of the life of the artist?  What ways do you see that you could invest in the lives of others? What benefits to your church could there be if you and other creatives began to share this kind of life together?

 

To learn more about Life Coaching and Worldwide Discipleship Association visit our ministry website at disciplebuilding.org

The Atlanta Arts Network exists to connect artists and worship artists, encouraging people who create and share art and cultivate a love for the arts as well as aspiring artists in the context of Christian community.