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Tips for Handling Church Problems at Christmas (and any other time)

Handling church problems can become even more frustrating at Christmastime. Here are four ways to ensure petty issues don’t become big ones.

A Pinch Point

You’re tired. You’re overworked. You have too many demands on your time. It’s Christmastime, and you can’t handle anything else. Then you arrive at the church you lead and discovered someone left the lights on overnight. Or forgot to take the rubbish out to the bin. Or someone complains the church is in a mess. Or asks you to do something they could just as easily do for themselves.

How do ensure this small, insignificant issue doesn’t make you blow up in frustration? Here’s four ways of handling church problems at Christmastime (or any other time of the year) that will help.

Be Positive

It’s easy to focus on the negative. As leaders we are often called upon to problem solve, and this can become our main focus. But try smiling and saying, “hello” first. Ask your church members, staff or volunteers how their day is going or how their family is, before handling church problems that need to be dealt with.

Not Every Problem is a Sin

Leaving the lights on is not a sin. Forgetting to put the rubbish out in the bins is not a sin. These are mistakes. Sometimes, we have to let them go, or gently ask that they are not done again. They aren’t reasons for threatening people’s positions in ministry, or hauling them up to a board for church discipline. Remembering this helps in handling church problems in an appropriate way.

Don’t Deal with Issues When You’re Angry

Some issues may be big enough to need a tough conversation. When you’re very busy, people who turn up unprepared, or late or show other signs that they may be lazy or disinterested in their ministry become more apparent. Now is not the time to deal with those issues. Note the issue, and then put off dealing with it until the New Year when everything is much calmer. Handling church problems when you’re angry and frustrated is never a good idea.

Remove the Plank

If I’m honest, many of the petty issues that frustrate me at Christmas, and indeed, at any other time in the year, are actually my leadership problems. I am too quick to see the negative. I can be a chronic complainer or criticiser. I can allow myself to feel entitled. I need to deal with the plank in my own eye, before I can deal with someone’s speck. Handling church problems often means handling my own problems first.

Handling church problems at Christmas takes wisdom and discernment. Don’t let small problems become big ones and derail the important ministry you have at this most special time of the year.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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