Thursday, April 22, 2010

Emotional Quotient and the Anxious Pastor

O My Soul:

Drama in the church can escalate over (in my opinion) relatively minor issues. But that does not make them minor issues. The sorrow and anger are all quite real.

This past week we have been working through such an issue. We had a Bible Study so the people could hear how I was thinking about it from the Holy Bible and the Lutheran Confessions - but my main goal was to project positive emotions and that I care about them more than myself or some other sub-group of the congregation. A few people were upset but the anger (surprisingly) was not directed at me. I set up some home visits with a few of these families and I kept my focus on projecting warm, positive, and caring emotions. I wanted them to know in words and actions that I cared about them even a little more than the issue while at the same time clarifying the teaching concerned. I also asked how we can proceed together concerning others in the congregation.

We have a really nice action plan on the table. The upset people have a valid concern. The concern only emerged after several hours of conversation.

Opposing views still exist but the anger has dissipated. They are not angry with each other or with me. The are close to a resolution on this issue without denying the doctrine to which they hold as a congregation.

And through all the drama, I've been sleeping well each night. I am able to talk to my wife as her husband rather than the pastor overwhelmed in congregational conflict. I have had time to interact with my kids as their dad. And I've been able to strengthen my relationships with several people in the congregation. The whole thing has been positive.

I have General Anxiety Disorder but my anxiety has been low through all this.

I have been working on improving my Emotional Quotient over the last year. There are four skills that are addressed in EQ. They are:

1. Self Awareness

2. Self Management

3. Social Awareness

4. Relationship Management

My success is a fruit Relationship Management. It begins with an awareness of how I'm feeling at any given time and how to take care of myself in the midst of my personal thoughts and emotions. It then moves to an increased awareness of how others are reacting to me and others around me. Finally, come the skills to build strong relationships - even in the midst of drama.

If you want, take this Emotional Quotient survey? And if you want to improve your EQ (which you can) you might want to check out these EQ resources by Daniel Goldman.

The take-away lesson for me is that Congregational Conflict can be positively addressed even with an Anxious Pastor.

Hope in Christ &
God bless you


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