Promote healthy differentiation within the church or system you lead.

Remember how Jesus responded when his disciples were giving themselves to panic? Did he make himself responsible for their emotions, for their sense of well-being, or for their comfort or discomfort?

Remember the storm at sea.

In Matthew 14:25-31, the disciples are terrified both by the storm and what they thought to be a “ghost” walking on the water. Still out of the boat, Jesus says: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Then, as Peter goes down into the water, Jesus grabs him and asks: “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

I imagine most pastors, instead, would exclaim something like: “Hey, great job Pete! I am SO VERY PROUD OF YOU! Look how many steps you took!! Hey fellas, let’s hear it for Peter!”

Jesus’ response indicates that he saw this incident as a character-development training opportunity. He interpreted it as a way to prepare Peter and the others for challenges that they would eventually get to confront.

–Kirk Kirlin, from the book “Leadership Courage,” more at www.KirlinCoaching.com/blog/

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