The ability to have a conversation is becoming a lost art. Instead, we’ve replaced speaking to people with speaking at people. This is unacceptable in church work [in any work, really]. To be a grown-up, you need to be able to interact in ways that honor all involved. In my experience, good conversations are blocked in the church world by two main things:

1. Self-centeredness – this is the often-mistaken belief that the what you are saying is more important than what the person you’re talking to is expressing. This manifests as a lack of focus [ignoring what is said and simply waiting until you get the chance to talk again] or outright rudeness [talking over the other person or cutting them off]. Leaders often self-justify this by repeatedly reminding themselves how busy they are…; 

2. Fear – this is the feeling that what you are saying will be rejected or disvalued by someone you are talking to. This fear may be well-deserved – walking into a meeting unprepared because of laziness or misplaced priorities and trying to bluff your way through it wears thin quickly…

Add to these the constant distraction of incoming texts, e-mails, etc… [sorry, Apple Watch users, but I’m looking pretty strongly in your direction], and you have conversations that that don’t actually exist. We all deserve – and owe each other – more…

“Sometimes you have to disconnect to stay connected. Remember the old days when you had eye contact during a conversation? When everyone wasn’t looking down at the device in their hands? We’ve become so focused on that tiny screen that we forget the big picture, the people right in front of us.” – Regina Brett

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