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When It's Time to Push Back on Pushback

4. Be visible and approachable.

We all want to hide when the hurricane is blowing, but leaders can’t. A good working rule is that the less you want to be around people, the more you need to be around people.

5. Tell the truth.

Being nice is often a higher core value than being truthful in the church. It is not unchristian to be honest with people, but it is unchristian to make them think you are going to do something you have no intention of doing. Taking the time to answer questions honestly and offer your position in a nondefensive way can turn a critic into a staunch ally!

6. Be a Christian.

Always be pastoral toward the people who are in disagreement with you. You can’t let Christians behaving in an unchristian manner take away your Christianity! You can’t give them that much power over you. 

7. Be a professional.

Never take it personally. Never raise your voice. Keep the discussion scriptural and missional. Even if a disgruntled individual leaves the church, you will earn their respect by being professional. If they do leave, do everything in your power to enable them to leave on good terms! 

8. Stick around.

I simply don’t consider divorce “an option” in my marriage (30 years) or my church (17 years). When you decide you are going to stay at the table and work through discontinuity, your ministry has moved to a new level.

As we learn to view inevitable discontinuity as an opportunity to teach the congregation Christian behavior and sharpen our leadership skills, we find that pushback is something on which we can … push back.  

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Christ Church weekend worship attendance has increased from 200 to over 2,100 each weekend since Shane’s appointment in 1997. He was named The Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church in 2010. Christ Church has three regional campuses and has planted two international sister churches in the Philippines and Honduras. He resides in Belleville, Illinois with his wife Melissa. The couple has two adult children, three grandsons and a granddaughter!