It didn’t take me long after I launched my “ministry career” to realize there are certain things that, while they might be non-spiritual, nevertheless, they are non-negotiable. There are strong implications here beyond the scope of ministry; any leader, coach, volunteer, employee, student, even a business owner should follow these non-negotiables.
- Always Respond. And by this, I mean to phone calls, emails, text messages…if someone sends you a message via a carrier pigeon…just respond. It doesn’t always have to be a long, drawn out response, sometimes just let them know you have received their latest correspondence to you. It’s not really a spiritual principle, but it’s definitely non-negotiable.
- Be Nice. Well, of course I’m always nice…I’m a minister. Uh…confession. I’m not always in a fantastic mood. I’m not always “feelin it” every time I walk in the doors of my work place (which happens to be my church). But, I at least owe it to the people that trust me in the spiritual development of their lives to at least be nice to them. This is non-negotiable.
- Be Prompt. Okay, this one has REALLY taken the better part of my life for me to figure out, and while I might not always be on time, I at least realize it’s important. Thanks to my wife, and the honorable Rev. Bill Coltharp, I understand that being prompt is all about having respect to the other individuals you are meeting. And, if they’re waiting, and waiting, and waiting on you, it’s very disrespectful of their time and schedule. Don’t try to negotiate this habit out from your life.
- Be Prepared. Somebody, somewhere is depending on you. They trust you. They have confidence in you to lead them in some capacity. At least return the favor by being well prepared. I convinced myself in college that I could put things off until the last minute (there’s a word for that: procrastiNATE, read more about it here), and that by doing so, I worked well, perhaps even at my best, when under pressure. NEWS FLASH!!! That’s not true. In fact, just the opposite is true. I’m at my best when I’m well prepared. It might not necessarily be spiritual, but it’s not negotiable.
- When You’re There, Be There. I know, I know. Wherever you are, you will be there. I got it. Thank you Captain Obvious. Here’s what I’m saying. Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation with someone who was constantly checking their phone? Maybe always looking beyond you, scanning the crowd? It’s not really a good feeling is it? In fact, I feel pretty worthless and insignificant in those moments when it appears that I’m not important enough to focus on. Trust me, there might not be anything spiritual about this, but it’s not negotiable.
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