A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Assertive Approach - What the Church Needs to Practice

As I reflect on Pastor Rick's excellent sermon from this past Sunday, entitled, "Through the Valley of Broken Relationships," he offered this really helpful explanation on how to approach someone on a sensitive issue. Since the church is made up of people, this helpful information is something we need to always keep in mind as we relate to one another.

How many times do we choose one of the first three ways to approach a problem instead of choosing the fourth way? What has been your experience with these four approaches in the life of the church?

Here is an excerpt from Pastor Rick's sermon:

In their book, Speaking the Truth in Love, Ruth Koch and Kenneth Haugk describe four approaches to admonition.

  • In the passive approach – one might ignore a person’s spiritual dangers.
  • In the aggressive approach – one might attack or be insensitive to the person
  • In the passive aggressive approach – one may look to draw a person out through inappropriate remarks
The authors do not recommend any of these ways.

They suggest the assertive approach – in this approach one offers direct, respectful, and kind words of support. The assertive approach respects the person being admonished and does not try to force or manipulate change. In this way people are able to work openly and honestly with each other while being sensitive to the situation.

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