Ministry can be a cutthroat environment and honestly that is pretty sad. Many times I see church leaders unwilling or slow to extend grace to those close and far who have messed up. Whether these are other people on their staff, elders or deacons or board members, church members, or some pastor they have never met 10 states away it is just as hard for church leaders to extend grace as it is for any other human.
I understand this because I have struggled with it as well. We all have. Extending grace is not a worldly principle. Cutthroat business people do not do this unless they see some sort of advantage coming out of it. Extending grace is a Biblical principle, ultimately a quality of God. As leaders we must be modeling this not only to our staff and congregation but also to the culture around us.
Basically, to lead the culture in extending grace we have to ignore some worldly business principles about dealing with people, maybe on issues of hiring and firing, or principles of if a person is worth our time, or principles of someone letting us down and letting them do it again (gasp).
Paul was let down and slow to extend grace with John Mark and that was Paul! So, yes, this is a hard principle, but one we must try our best to lead with in our ministries.
Here are some practical ways in which we can lead our culture in extending grace:
Think about forgiveness and grace from God’s perspective. God grants anyone grace who has faith because of what Jesus did for humanity. That forgiveness is so powerful! But we as humans and church leaders we are not so quick to forgive. We want to make sure certain conditions are met, that the person is never going to do it again, that the person is “growing” or whatever it is we want before we forgive.
Remember that You need grace as much as anyone
When we remember that we also need grace extended to us-from Jesus and from those around us, it makes it so much easier to extend grace to someone who has hurt us or let us down.
Help in Restoration
If there is someone who has very badly messed up, maybe even very publicly messed up we must aide in their restoration. We must do anything we can to help restore people from their moral shortcomings. We all have them, some are just made a lot more public than most.
Intentionally Show Grace in Your Preaching and Leading
Go out of your way in your preaching and your leading to extend grace to those around you. Actively look for stories of grace to share in your preaching and actively go out of your way to show those you lead the grace you have been given and the grace you will likewise extend to them.
Give out So Much Grace You Might Look Foolish
Look, the world says if someone has let you down do not allow them to let you down again. How many times should you forgive someone? Well Jesus answered this question: “Seven times seventy times” or practice endlessly forgive.
You know what happens when you endlessly forgive and extend grace as a leader? You look foolish sometimes. Someone lets you down over and over again. Someone takes advantage of you more than once. Someone fails more than once. But that is okay.
Extending grace is hard to do. But if we are striving to lead like Jesus we must do this.
What has helped you extend grace? Let us know in the comments!
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