Ministry is About Relationships

John Maxwell popularized the leadership quip “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” True enough. Hang around in ministry for a hot minute and you recognize that even leadership depends upon relationships.

Oklahoma Baptists recently welcomed Ken Sande to our offices for a day of outstanding relationship training. Ken is the author of the best-selling book “The PeaceMaker.” This day of instruction and insight was incredibly impactful upon our team.

Your four Regional Ministry Partners – Brett Selby, Griff Henderson, Buddy Hunt, and myself – became convinced that this training, called “Relational Wisdom 360” (or RW360) is a critical tool for pastors. If it is true that “everything rises and falls on leadership,” then our leaders possess a great need and responsibility to continually hone and refine their own relationship skills. In church leadership, as the pastor goes so eventually goes the church. So, for the next 8 months the four of us will be writing short articles on these relational skills – what Ken Sande calls “Relational Wisdom.”

Relational Wisdom is living out the two great commandments. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Sande defines it like this: “In modern terms, relational wisdom is your ability to discern emotions, interests and abilities in yourself and others, to interpret this information in light of God’s Word, and to use these insights to manage your responses and relationships constructively.”

Relational wisdom is all about thinking of others before yourself. If we put this in terms of our resources in the church, our relationships with people must be the priority and therefore give every effort to manage relationships well. Continuously honing our relational skills is simply being wise in how we speak and respond to those we serve.

Developing relational wisdom has multiple benefits for your ministry.

First, you will enjoy stronger relationships. Every pastor would cherish more productive relationships and less conflict in the church!

Second, relational skills increases influence. Your leadership will be more credible and welcomed by those you serve. Your personal production and sense of teamwork in the church will be multiplied.

Third, relational skills present a compelling witness. How powerful for church members to witness the transforming power of God in your own life! When we have greater unity through enhanced relational skills, we demonstrate that we are truly following Jesus!

Every pastor must continuously examine his own life as he leads in ministry. Perhaps there is no greater opportunity for growth than in health, holy relationship skills. Can you improve in your “relational wisdom?” Absolutely! And we want to drop a little bit in your bucket periodically so we can all improve how we serve the Bride of Christ. Look for our series of articles on Relational Wisdom on social media twice a month (opposite weeks of the Feeding and Leading podcasts!)

For more information on Ken Sande’s “Relational Wisdom” curriculum you can explore www.rw360.org.

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