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When Josh suggested we use this week to each share a recent ministry failure my first thought was, “How do I pick just one?” So after thinking through all my recent flubs I thought I’d share this one.

Part of my role at the church is to sit on the executive management team—a group of 10 pastors who help run the larger affairs of the church. I recently walked into an executive meeting about five minutes late, only to stumble upon a discussion already taking place that revolved around one of my team members. Without me in the room, somebody had determined it was a good time to address a problem on my team: bonehead move!

But what was worse was my reaction. I didn’t wait to hear the context of the conversation, or the severity of their concerns (which turned out to be fairly minimal, which is why it was brought up in my absence).

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Instead, I instantly grabbed control of the conversation and spent the next 30 minutes “holding court” and defending my teammate. And by “defending” I mean WAY OVER DEFENDING. I was ticked, felt ambushed, and felt like they had no idea what they were talking about, so I made sure to set every possible piece of the record straight: bonehead move! I ended up looking like a defensive, insecure leader and probably raised more concerns than I nullified.

What I learned

- I learned that just because somebody makes a strategic/leadership error (bringing up the issue in my absence) doesn’t necessarily mean they have bad motives.

- I learned that how I respond to an issue is almost always more important than the issue itself (that’s a great parenting tip, too, by the way).

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- I learned that grace is best when it’s a two-way street. I should have extended the same grace on the front end of the conversation that I suddenly hoped to receive on the tail end.

- I also learned for the 50th time that I’d usually rather be playing Kill Ball than sitting around an executive leadership table!

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