Creating a Culture of Honesty

One thing that I have always noticed in Churches is that there is never a culture of open and honest dialogue about the things that go on e...

One thing that I have always noticed in Churches is that there is never a culture of open and honest dialogue about the things that go on each week in services and at the events. There is always this fear of there being hurt feelings or anger. See at the end of the day the people we have NOT yet reached have to be more important than our pride and our ego. We have to be able to say, “ya know that was not your best sermon.” Or “maybe we should think about never letting that person sing again.” It is not about being hateful or disrespectful. It is about everyone putting on their big girl and big boy britches and realizing that this is not about us in that environment, but about the people that do not know Jesus or have been away from Him for a long time.

I have always tried to create a culture of Honesty among the people around me. Especially when it comes to telling me what they think about the things we are doing. I have tried to do it with the people who work right beside me every day and the people whom I serve every week. (Volunteers, Students, Parents, etc) People often tell me things to work on or give me suggestions. This is great and I value their input. In some cases I don’t agree or the decision has been made and we will have to see how it plays out. These suggestions do not always encompass the big picture and so they are not valid or valuable, but I try to listen to them all because it gives me a peek into the heartbeat of the people around me. It helps them know that I value them and what they have to say. They know that it may or may no affect my decision, but they feel enough buy in to give me their honest opinion. They do this because we share a vision that the Kids or Students we are reaching are too important to waste time or not do things with excellence.

Well my theory on how I feel about that was tested this weekend on Sunday. I got to do something I do not always get to do which is walk around and talk with some of our volunteers. I saw a youth that I had been meaning to catch up with. She had not been coming to our Student Ministry on Wednesday Nights so I wanted to touch base to make sure that everything was ok. Well she told me that she attends another church on Wednesday nights. I said ok that’s great as long as you are somewhere. I started to walk away and let that be that, but I decided to turn around and ask her “what is that you like over there that we are not doing here?” I followed that with explaining that she did not have to be shy and she could be honest because if I do not know what is broke I cannot fix it. She thought for a minute as though she was trying to figure out how to say it. Now I have to admit that in my arrogance I was not at all expecting what came next. She said, “well I just really get a lot more out of the speaker over at the other location.” Ouch!! That stung a little. I could tell she was holding back a little so I dug in a little more even though I was dying to immediately stop. She did not come right out and say it, but here is what I gathered. It was not that he was such a great communicator, but more that she really did not like me as a communicator. OUCH!!!! Again… the more I thought about that the more it stung I will be honest; It hurt down deep.

Now despite the fact the conversation was a tad painful I could not help but be thrilled about one thing. That is that she knew she could be honest. This girl serves with us and does a fantastic job. Over my time here I have had conversations with her about what she thought about how things were going and the new things we were trying. She knew that she could be honest with me. With her I created a culture of not holding back and telling me what she really genuinely thought about things. So yes the statement hurt, but I am so pumped that even my students, at least that one, feel like they can tell me their real opinion and they know it matters to me. That is a win.

What are you doing to create a culture of honesty? Are people afraid to tell you things that might sting a little? Even more than that is all you ever hear positive things. People stroking your ego and building you up or do you have people around you that you know when you walk away from them they told you what they really feel and think. Have you surrounded yourself with yes men and women or do you put the people around you that will be honest and hold you accountable? A good leadership characteristic is being more concerned about the people you are reaching, or the product you are pushing than you are with your own feelings. Let the truth make you better not hold you back. Let honesty push you forward and help you develop into more than you ever imagined.

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  1. I like this Ryan it is so true and we sure miss you and your family. I just wished others would look at it this way.


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