Human nature seems to cause us to look at every problem, failure and difficulty with the mindset of “Whose fault is this?” Followed by, “How should they be punished?”  When this kind of thinking seeps into a church’s culture, the result is destructive and divisive. AND- “Blame storming” sessions typically do NOTHING to solve the root problem.

For example, I sat in one meeting recently watching the church staff argue at each other’s throats for 36 minutes straight over who left the back door of the church unlocked after church the past Sunday.  There was a lot of finger pointing, excuses, defensiveness, even suggestions about taking away people’s keys. But after all of this arguing, no one had come up with a single plan for making sure that the doors were all locked each evening!

What does this look like, when a church’s culture is one of blame? Well, creativity will quickly disappear. No one is going to want to try something new, or take any risks at all, if they are afraid of blame, shame and punishment. And your team will not be volunteering to do anything extra either. Extra projects will be viewed as just one more chance to fail. People will grow more and more suspicious and defensive.  Teamwork will eventually not exist at all. You will lose any forward motion, joy or excellence, as all your team’s energies will be focused on self protection and self preservation (survival).

Part of our job as leaders is to steer the conversation away from blame and toward problem solving. We can create a joyful environment that allows people to risk, step up their ministries and even fail- with mentoring, feedback and coaching. This is the setting in which creativity and growth will thrive. In a confrontation, it helps bring a better resolution if you can redirect all parties involved from figuring out whom to “blame” and “punish” and instead work as a team to solve the problem.  Remind them of the vision and overall goals you are working toward. The problem will seem much smaller in comparison to the massive, amazing work we are trying to do for God. Changing a culture of blame, punishing and finger pointing takes TIME and wisdom, but keep trying! We can set a better, more effective and more positive tone.

Remember: Brain Storm not Blame Storm! Are we striving to make it better, or just hunting down a “culprit”?

Love Trisha

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