Relationships are, for me, complicated. It’s not a complication I retreat from…not as a bona fide extrovert. No, no…relationships are the lifeblood of my existence. I’d sooner do without air than friends. It’d be less painful.
I spent some time talking with a mentor today about some previous ministry experience and he was extremely helpful in his advice, but one thing stood out to me: one of the biggest errors I’ve made in relational dealings in the past is that I tend to deal with people as I wish to be dealt with, not as they’d prefer. I expect a leader to know immediately the answer to questions, so I have immediate answers at my disposal, instead of finding out if they’d see that as me writing them off. I expect thorough, thoughtful interaction with what I’ve said or written, so I send long emails to people dealing with what they’ve said, instead of looking for face-to-face interaction. After all, if someone wants to say something to me in an email, why take an hour (travel-time, meeting, whatever) to do something that can be done in 30 seconds (them skimming my message)?
But this is a terrible way to do relationship and ministry. And now I have to un-learn the old way of doing things in order to better serve others.