One speaker I was very excited to hear was Dr. Henry Cloud. You may know him as the guy who wrote the “Boundaries” series of books and Bible studies. I led the Boundaries series earlier this year for moms and LOVED it. As a woman, and as a Christian, I struggle with creating healthy boundaries and saying “no” when I need to and separating myself from situations I need not be involved in (I tend to be a caregiver by nature as well as a person who feels responsible to save people in need . . . that can be incredibly unhealthy, as you can imagine).
Dr. Cloud came to us more as a guy leading a seminar for corporate leaders who are having to make tough decisions. I respect that and kind of needed to hear that because we are having to make some tough decisions and, at times, some scary, but necessary changes at HUMC just to survive. What he had to say was pivotal – “God has called you to be a steward over a vision – to help the necessary changes take place.” Wow. No pressure there, right?
He put people into three categories when it comes to having to hear the truth about themselves – he gave the example of a supervisor having to bring a person into their office to tell them they are doing a poor job and why this is so. He stated that the employee would be in one of three categories at that point –
- a wise person who takes it as constructive criticism and begins immediately thinking of ways to improve so they can better fulfill the company’s vision
- a foolish person who blames others and won’t own it, who gets angry and defensive, who tries to change the issues to become more of an “external” problem than a problem with themselves.
- an evil (that was his term) person who is just bent on destruction and will do whatever they can to destroy the company/supervisor.
This was a bit harsh, true. But, I’ve worked in the corporate world (and the church) and I know this to be pretty right on. Sadly, it is pretty right on in the church as well. That is very sad, but when you have a church of 700 people, there are some of all three in the mix. Most fall into the “wise” or the “foolish” category (and I think most of us have dabbled in both of those when put in a situation to have to hear the ugly truth about ourselves – I know I have!).
Dr. Cloud’s purpose in this was to help us know how to deal with these personality types in the most Christian and productive way. It was helpful and was very reminiscent of his “Boundaries” book. For me, personally, I tend to shy away from conflict and find myself fearful of the more aggressive people around me. I rarely stand my ground on things, even when I know that it’s for the betterment of the church. He slapped me into reality with what he was saying and I truly appreciated it. The way I respond to people, no matter which of the three categories they reside in, is so important when trying to further the mission and vision God has set out for HUMC. So, in essence, the ball is in my court. I will face these three during my lifetime over and over again. If you haven’t read his stuff . . . it’s worth the read. He is incredibly insightful!