The previous blog post talked about clarifying expectations in order to manage conflict. This blog post addresses aligning expectations with priorities. Once we are clear about our expectations, we then need to examine our priorities. We want to align our expectations with our priorities. “What is most important” is a priority-setting question.
In “The Gray Areas: part 1”, I described how my family clarified expectations about Thanksgiving and Christmas. We needed to have conversation about expectations because my mother died on November 3, 2018. We needed to communicate clearly with each other because the holidays were going to be strange and sad without my mom. We needed to be understanding with one another in our grieving and not expect too much from each other at such a difficult time.
Fortunately, our expectations aligned. Our expectations aligned because we agreed on our priorities. To be kind to one another was a high priority. To take care of our dad in the ways he desired was also a high priority. I asked my dad how he wanted to spend the holidays. My sister and I then planned accordingly. Because we had done important relational work in advance, we were able to get through the holidays more or less intact.
Aligning expectations with priorities helped my family avoid unnecessary conflict. This approach can also help churches manage conflict. One of the most helpful things churches can do for their pastors is to be clear about the church’s priorities. When the pastor knows the congregation’s priorities, the pastor can lead accordingly.
The expectations of a pastor are many. Pastors are to (1) preach and lead worship (2) visit the sick and the shut-in (3) teach various ages in various settings (4) counsel (5) administer the affairs of the church (6) evangelize (7) empower leaders in the congregation (8) show leadership in the community (9) lead the congregation (10) attend to personal and spiritual growth (11) fulfill denominational and ecumenical responsibilities (12) manage the office.
Given the long list of responsibilities, pastors need to know what is most important to their congregations. Church leaders, have focused conversations in your congregation about what is most important. Communicate these priorities to you pastor. Revisit these priorities regularly. Sometimes priorities need to be re-aligned with the church’s mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Do the congregation’s priorities support making disciples? Is the pastor able to manage their time so that they are making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?
Conflict Transformation Ministers can help facilitate priority-setting conversations in the local church. Your congregation may never have had focused conversation about what is most important. Your congregation may have had the priority-setting conversation a while ago and needs to re-visit the conversation. Whatever your need, Conflict Transformation Ministers can assist. Helping churches make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is our #1 priority.