When asked what he considered the most valuable skill in employees, John D. Rockefeller once replied, "The ability to get along with people!"
One of the most important skills needed to succeed in ministry is knowing how to handle troublemakers. If you learn how to deal with difficult people early on, then you'll be able to pour more energy into ministry rather than needless conflicts.
Troublemakers come in all shapes:
THE SHERMAN TANK - will run over you if you let him.
THE MEGAPHONE - will talk your ear off.
THE BUBBLE BUSTER - deflates everyone's enthusiasm.
THE VOLCANO - has a temper like Mt. St. Helens.
THE CRY BABY - is a chronic complainer.
THE NIT PICKER - is the unpleasable perfectionist.
THE SPACE CADET - is on a different wavelength.
What should you do with these types?
Jesus had to deal with a lot of difficult people. Here are FOUR methods he modeled through his life:
1. Realize you can't please everybody (John 5:30). Even God can't do that! One wants rain while the other demands sunshine.
2. Refuse to play their game (Matt. 22:18). Learn to say no to unrealistic expectations. Confront them by "telling the truth in love."
3. Never retaliate (Matt. 5:38-39). It only lowers you to their level.
4. Pray for them (Matt. 5:44). It will help both of you. Let God handle them.
Make this Bible verse your goal this week, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." (Rom. 12:18 NIV)
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life and The Purpose-Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. Copyright 2005 Pastors.com, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.