The Healthy Church Staff Podcast

Difficult People in Ministry: The Drainers

January 26, 2024 Todd Rhoades Season 1 Episode 15
The Healthy Church Staff Podcast
Difficult People in Ministry: The Drainers
Show Notes Transcript

Have you ever felt like you were being emotionally sapped dry by certain individuals in your ministry? I'm Todd Rhoades, and together with insights from Chris Surratt, we address this energy zapping dilemma on the latest episode of the Healthy Church Staff podcast. Our focus is on 'drainers', those who bring an endless stream of complaints and criticisms, leaving us feeling inadequate and frustrated. Join us as we navigate the complexities of setting healthy boundaries with these individuals, pointing them towards constructive sources of support, and tackling the issue with a combination of love, firmness, and scriptural wisdom. It's a conversation filled with personal strategies and pastoral advice that promises to empower any ministry leader.

This week, we've already unpacked the challenges posed by dominators, dodgers, and debaters in ministry. But the drainers—oh boy, they're in a league of their own. Tune in as we discuss the importance of not letting these challenging personalities monopolize our time and resources, and the necessity of confronting issues with grace and honesty. We also talk about the importance of balancing our interactions by seeking out 'energizers'—the individuals who uplift and inspire us. So, whether you're a ministry veteran or just starting out, brace yourself for an episode that will not only equip you but also refresh your approach to ministering to every sheep in your flock. With Chris Serrat's expertise in tow, we're bringing a robust discussion that's sure to leave you feeling more capable and less drained.

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Speaker 1:

Hi there, welcome to the Healthy Church Staff podcast. My name is Todd Rhodes. I am one of the co-founders over at chemistrystaffingcom. Thanks so much for joining us today on the Healthy Church Staff podcast.

Speaker 1:

This week we've been looking at difficult people in ministry. It's been fun being fun to commiserate together over some of the people that we get to deal with. I've heard people often say ministry would be a blast if it just wasn't for the people. I mean there's probably some really horrible theological fault with that statement, but people can be difficult. So far this week we've looked at dominators and dodgers and debaters. Today we're going to look at drainers. There's a link in the show notes to where I've gotten the dominator-dodger-debater-drainer language from. It's from Chris Serrat, who's a great small groups pastor. He wrote an article a couple years ago over at LifeWay Research. You can check that out. Chris is a small groups pastor, so he's writing this from a group leader perspective. But we've tried to take some of that group leader perspective and just turn it around to how do you deal with difficult people as a staff member?

Speaker 1:

Today, as I said, we're talking about the drainers. Okay, let's get pretty serious here. Drainers are in every church. You've already dealt with them. As I say, who do you know on your team or in your church that's a drainer for you personally, you probably already have the picture of somebody in your mind or a group of people in your mind. A drainer is somebody who constantly complains, man, they constantly criticize. They're the person that always says, hey, pastor, can I have a second? They're the people that knock on your office door. They're often unhappy people. They're needy, insecure and here's the rub they expect the staff to help me their emotional needs the drainers. As I said, you're probably already thinking of somebody or a few people that can be real drainers for you. They can drain energy and joy and motivation from you as a staff member, but they can also make you feel inadequate or frustrated or resentful. They can affect the morale and the unity of the church as a whole. They can hinder its vision mission as well if you let the drainers get out of control. So here's the key the drainers need to be dealt with in a loving, firm, biblical way. All right, get out your pastoral skills, because you're going to need them here with the drainers.

Speaker 1:

Here are some suggestions on how to handle drainers. First of all, my suggestion set up some healthy boundaries with them. Don't let them monopolize your time, because they will, they will. Don't let them monopoly your attention or your resources. You're going to have to learn to say no. You're going to have to learn to refer them to other sources of help sometimes counselors, mentors, other support groups but set some healthy boundaries. They cannot monopolize your time and your attention. That's the first time, first thing. Second thing Sometimes you just have to speak the truth and love.

Speaker 1:

Don't ignore them. It's easy to try and ignore and dodge the drainers, but don't ignore them. Don't avoid their issues, but don't sugarcoat them. Don't enable them Confront them with grace, honesty. Again I said pull out your pastoral skill set. You're going to need it. Challenge them to grow and change. Use scripture and prayer to guide and support their conversations, but you do need to speak the truth and love to them.

Speaker 1:

Here's another thing. I think that's helpful. We all have drainers and you can. Even if you set healthy boundaries and you speak truth in love with them, you're still going to have to deal with drainers, and that's okay. But try as best you can to balance your time with the drainers, also with energizers. Don't let the drainers consume your focus or your perspective. Spend some time at least as much time with energizers as you do with drainers. Spend time with people who will encourage you and inspire you and infresh you Sometimes it's your family, sometimes it's your friends or mentors but seek God's presence and peace in your daily life and you need to have a balance. If your day is only dealing with drainers, you yourself will be drained.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and here we go. The last thing that we're going to talk about don't take their behavior personally. Don't let the drainers, negativity or criticism affect yourself, worth or your identity. Remember that you're not responsible for their happiness or their well-being. Trust that God loves you and he values you. He has a purpose for you, but he also has a purpose for the trainer as well.

Speaker 1:

Speak into them, as I said, speak the truth and love. Set healthy boundaries. Balance them with energizers so that you don't yourself become a trainer to other people. So I hope that these talking points have been helpful to you and that this series this week has been helpful to you as you lead what can be sometimes very difficult people. All right, make sure you subscribe to the podcast If you have any questions or any kind of topic ideas you'd like for me to talk about here. On the podcast, you can reach out to me anytime at podcast, at chemistry staffing, at chemistrystaffingcom. And next week we're going to start off Monday with a story about Google laying off 30,000 people and how it will affect your church. You don't want to miss that on Monday.