Building relationships in ministry can be challenging, but rewarding work. There have been so many great strategies written on effective relationship building, some of which I have written about.
- Be real: Have you heard the term, “Fake it until you make it”? Well, that’s bad advice. You and I have encountered people that try too hard to get people to like them. In the end, we find them annoying. Being real is about being authentic to who you are. Don’t fake it. Don’t try to impress people. Just be yourself. Will everyone love you if you are real? No. But at least they won’t think you are annoying.
- Be interested (not just interesting): Dale Carnegie was known to say that you can make more friends in an hour by being interested in them than you can in a week by trying to be interesting. One powerful reality in life is that people like to talk about themselves. I’m no exception. Because this is the case, we often encounter people who are just waiting for you to stop talking so that they can talk about themselves. In the end, no one really listens. Be genuinely interested in others. It’s amazing the stories and experiences they have to share.
- Be a better listener: God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason. In today’s fast paced world, our attention spans are short. The best thing you can do in your ministry is listen and listen well. And because good listeners are in short order, trust me when I say that they will remember you.
- Be empathic: If I were to grade myself on this one, I’d get a D-. It’s not that I don’t care. It’s just I have a difficult time relating and really feeling sorry for what people are going through. As a minister, I’m called to be pastoral. I need to listen and really understand where people are coming from. Their perspective of what happened is just as important as your perspective.
- Be honest: There are numerous people in my life that have had the guts to be honest with me, especially when they knew it would be difficult for me to take. But that is what honesty is about. I have plenty of people around me that tell me what I want to hear. I need people around me that will tell me what I need to hear. That’s a big difference. Those are the people I have true respect for. Therefore, I want to be the same voice of truth in other people’s lives.
- Be helpful: The only thing that comes to mind here is servant leadership. Listen carefully to the needs of others. If it’s in your power, do something to help.
- Be prompt: Respect people’s time. When you say you are going to do something, do it and do it promptly.
Question: Which B are you successful in? Which B do you need to work on?