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When to Say No

Leadership involves a series of yeses and nos, and it's important for leaders to be thoughtful about both.

Have you ever said "yes" to a request, and then gone back to your office kicking yourself because you didn't say "no?" Leadership involves a series of yeses and nos, and it's important for leaders to be thoughtful about both.

Many church leaders have a hard time saying no. We are in ministry to make a difference and to help others, so saying yes to a chance to help seems like the right thing to do. For church staff members, saying yes to someone in authority over us sometimes seems like the only thing to do.

Yet when we say yes too often, we become overloaded and less effective in the most important tasks at hand. Not only that, when we say yes to helping people with tasks or challenges that they need to handle on their own, we get in the way of their growth. While our goal is to help, we end up being less than helpful because they become dependent on us. When a church member has ongoing family crises and asks us to intervene, we may hamper their own resourcefulness if we always help ...

January/February
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