How To Ensure Feedback Is Helpful, Not Harmful

Have you ever given great feedback in the wrong way or to the wrong person, virtually negating the feedback in total?

I sure have – like it was my job!

Actually, evaluating and providing feedback IS a huge part of my job. It is an important part of any leader’s job. As a Lead Pastor in a campus location with North Point Ministries, I am constantly evaluating our services, events, and programs. One of our staff covenants is “Make it Better,” so it’s safe to say evaluation and feedback is in our organizational DNA.

While evaluation alone is relatively innocent, the feedback mechanisms that carry our evaluations are ripe for harm – especially if you are a senior leader.

I learned this lesson the hard way a few times (I’m a slow learner). I remember two specifically: Continue reading…

But They Never Forget How You Make Them Feel.

Have you ever worried about saying the wrong thing?

As a pastor, I find myself facing many situations where I’m scared I’ll say the wrong thing. Sure, there’s an occasional slip in a sermon or stage announcement, but the place where my words find the most fear is hospitals and funerals. When you’re a pastor, walking into a time of great struggle or grief is a privilege, but when people look to you as an extension of God, it carries an unfair weight.

I hate to admit this, but I use to practice what I wanted to say before walking into an emotionally charged, grief stricken environment. I was so scared that I would misrepresent God, or simply misrepresent all of humanity, that I would practice lines like I was on a date. After all, what can you say to a husband who just lost a wife, or to a parent who’s child is suffering?

What should you say when people are expecting your words to bring comfort or peace?

There are no mulligans in these moments, and I learned a few valuable lessons the hard way. Most importantly, I learned this powerful principle:

People rarely remember what you say,
but they never forget how you make them feel.

That might be worth reading again. 

With that principle in mind, here are a few things I try to remember when I’m facing a “pastoral moment.” Whether you’re a professional Christian or not, you can do this, too… Continue reading…

Why Can’t I Let Others Help Me?

It seems everybody in the world made fun of my Atlanta friends and me during the 2014 Snowpocalypse. I can’t blame them. It looked like a snowy scene from The Walking Dead. I can’t imagine how bad an actual zombie invasion will make traffic! Even though I was stuck in the mess for 7 hours myself, I found it funny, too (after I made it home the following day).

After driving for 7 hours, I realized I was not going to make it home. As I began to evaluate my options, sleeping in the car became the most logical choice. In a moment of divine intervention, my wife remembered SHE had just made a friend who lived close to where I was currently stranded. She called and asked one of the weirdest questions of her life – “Can my husband spend the night at your house?” Luckily, I’m a pastor and this family attends our church, so the “don’t you want to help your pastor” ploy was in full effect.

Continue reading…