Donor Login spacer divider Translate

Missions 101

Seven Practical Ways to Love People

Apr. 29, 2013By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

There was never a class at seminary on conflict resolution, people management or actual action items one could take in the care of others.  That’s not a bad thing.  A classroom is a wooden place to learn such things beyond the theoretical.  What I learned in regard to these issues came from the men and women who discipled me.

So I offer seven practical action items to help you love people.

Share Meals In Your Home

The theme of sharing meals is so important, someone has even written a book about it!  It's hard to harbor resentment towards someone you have dinner with.  Larry Osbourne in his book Sticky Teams shares how different his board meetings were once they moved the meetings into someone’s home and out of a conference room.  Amy and I have had a lot of different people into our home and it is there where we have begun to understand who people are and correct our own misconceptions of them.  Many nights have ended with hugs and "Minnesota Goodbyes." 

Write Thank You Notes

I'll admit, I had to learn this from my wife!  After we got married, she has appalled to learn I didn’t write thank you notes after receiving gifts. Now, I write notes to people all the time and have thank you notes on my desk at all times..  When I was a pastor, I would write random notes to thank people for their Christian witness in the community or for their service at church. With TLI, I write notes to people who have taught or invested time and money. A hand written note shows a little bit more care and thought than an email you could quickly write and send to many people. Practice this on a regular basis as a means of encouraging people! 

Answer Email Within 24 Hours 

I know not everyone can do this.  There are some people that get inundated with email because of who they are, but most of us are not “Christian Famous.”  When people are emailing you, they expect you to respond, so do it!  Many in the business world (especially in the younger generation) answer 100’s of emails a week as part of their job. It’s amazing how much I get done by just answering the people that contact me. This does not mean you need to be a slave to email or not pass emails on to others.

Follow Through on Deadlines, Especially Self-Imposed Ones

Keeping your word, even if it hurts, reveals character.  If you say you are going to do something by a certain date, you must do it.  If you are a seminary student and constantly asking to turn in work late, it is a sign of things to come (a friend of mine no longer accepts any late work under almost any circumstance for this reason).  People who are late in the business world get warned or fired.  Those in vocational ministry usually come up with some sort of excuse, inserting some spiritual sounding reason.  The problem is most apparent when you set the deadline yourself and do not get the task done.  It shows a lack of self-control and a propensity to break your word.

Put Your Cell Phone Away

Another way to think of it – focus on the person you are talking to.  When I meet with someone, the cell phone does not come out of my pocket.  When I’m with my family, I leave the cell phone in the office or plugged in somewhere.  I can’t focus on a conversation with my wife and play Angry Birds or read a blog (no matter how interesting it is).  I don’t want anyone to know me as someone who is always thinking about something other than what I should be doing.

Have a Study Plan

There is a general shock to the system when one graduates seminary.  External pressure and structure is good.  It causes one to be disciplined.  But when those structures go away, you will need to discipline yourself.  Create a list books you want to read and work through them.  Pick a Bible reading plan.  Don’t do anything until you pray.  Self-imposed discipline is not legalism, but the marks of a godly man or woman.   In doing so you will serve the people you are entrusted with caring for.

Don’t Tell People How Hard Your Job Is and How Unique Struggles Are

Pastors are typically introspective people – especially the Reformed ones.   We tend to throw pity parties for ourselves, especially in sermons.  It is one thing to share personal struggles as a way to relate to people, but it is naïve to think the pastorate is harder and that Satan somehow has a closer eye on you because of your job.  You don’t know too many people if you think vocational ministry is harder. 

Darren Carlson is the Founder and President of Training Leaders International.  As President, Darren oversees the general direction of the ministry and serves as an advocate for pastors with little access to formal training and thoughtful cross-cultural theological engagement. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter

Tags:  practical
comments powered by Disqus
SubscribeRSS FeedEmail Subscribe
abortion, acts, africa, america, answer to prayer, arcc, asia, atheism, audio, bible, bible study, biblical theology, biography, book review, books, brazil, c.s. lewis, caliphate, calvin, calvinism, cameroon, charity, china, christian, church, church growth, church history, church planting, church polity, confession, conflict, contextualization, corruption, creation, cross, culture, da carson, dead church, death, delight, demonic, dependence, discipleship, doctor, documentary, easter, ebola, ecclesiology, economics, effectiveness, ego, elder, endorsements, ethics, europe, evangelical, evangelicalism, evangelism, evil, faith, faithfulness, false teaching, forgiveness, free books, funny, gaba bible institute, gay marriage, gifts, global christianity, global south, good friday, gospel, graduation, great commission, greece, greek, healing, hermeneutics, history, history of missions, honor, hot topics, humility, humilty, humor, hymn, immigration, incarnational ministry, india, indigenous, infographic, informal education, integrity, interpretation, invitation, isis, islam, jesus, jews, john piper, journal, joy, kenya, latin america, leadership, literacy, love, majority world, map, maps, marriage, martyr, medicine, ministry, ministry of tli, miracles, missiology, mission, missional living, missionaries, missionary, missionary care, missionary kid, missionary training, missions, mission sermons, missions methodology, moms, money, nepal, news, new year, nigeria, orality, parenting, partnership, pastor, pastors, pastor sponsorship, patience, paul, persecution, pictures, pioneer, pioneer missions, politics, poor, pope, post-christian, poverty, practical, prayer, prayer requests, preaching, pride, productivity, prophecy, prosperity gospel, quote, radical, reached, reconciliation, relevance, relief, resources, retirement, revival, romania, sacrifice, salvation, scripture meditation, sending, sermon, serving, shame, shepherd, short-term missions, singing, social action, spiritual life, sports, spurgeon, stat, statistics, stats, stewardship, stm, story, strategic, strategy, suffering, support, support raising, teaching, team, tennent, testimonies, testimony, tgc, thanksgiving, theological education, theological famine, theology, the west, tli, training, transformation, translation, uganda, unreached, update, video, west, western influence, when helping hurts, wisdom, women, worldview, worship, young churches
blog search