You Can't Handle the Truth

I had lunch today with Jack Warren, the Executive Pastor at Fellowship. Among other things, his duties include developing and implementing strategy to help the church reach it's goal, and overseeing staff.

Jack's an extremely relational individual, and self-proclaimedly borders on ADD. We have a lot in common.

The topic of conversation was sweet-spots. If you're not familiar with the terminology, picture a golf club. Although you can advance the ball by hitting it anywhere on the club face of your nine-iron, the club was designed to produce maximum effectiveness when hit in a specific place: the sweet spot.

The theory is that all of us have sweet spots as well. We can each do life and ministry a lot of different ways. From a human standpoint we could participate in many activities and "advance the ball." But we've each been designed with a specific gift-mix and certain abilities to allow us to be maximumly effective in certain areas.

My sweet spot seems to be preaching. Jack's is helping staff members and others through the really tough situations in ministry. Often that includes hard conversations and difficult decisions, sometimes in which a staff member needs to be reassigned or terminated. Jack thrives in those situations.

I don't.

How can you be highly relational and still enjoy those conversations? Most of the people I've known in the best who were direct and confident in hard conversations were not the type of people you'd play golf with. But Jack is. And for the life of me I couldn't figure out how he balanced the two.

So I asked him.

What he said is worth repeating. He said, "Chris, when you're highly relational and analytical, you realize that the hard conversations are often the very best way to love a person, and they're almost always best for the overall health of the church. What it comes down to is this: people crave someone who will tell them the truth. I see it as a privilege to be able to be honest with people that I care about, even when that honesty means a little discomfort for me on the front end. If we aren't willing to tell them the truth, who will?"