Has a leader said no to you? How do you react when a leader says no? Face it, most of us don’t take no to our ideas or agendas very well. Our gut-level response to leaders telling us no is to feel slighted and rejected. In other words, we tend to take no personally—way too personally! Because we take it personally, the response is a mix of defensiveness, anger, offense, and even oppositional behavior—usually through some form of passive-resistance to leadership.
Now, I’ll be the first to say, that sometimes leaders are abdominal no-men whose instinctive, gut-level response is to say no instead of yes to just about everything. We’ve all been on the receiving end of abdominal no-men, but that still doesn’t mean good leadership means only/always saying yes. While God is calling us to be highly permissional leaders who empower and release people, we still have a God-given responsibility to say no when needed.
So, when does no need to be said by a leader? When the idea, even a great idea doesn’t directly relate to the vision and mission of the church. Sometimes it may be a matter of wrong timing, but sometimes it’s just a great idea that doesn’t strategically advance what God is building in that church.
Remember that the elder team in the local church has the responsibility before God to exercise Biblical government. Government means that they determine doctrine, discipline, and the direction of the church. When leaders perceive that a great idea doesn’t fulfill God’s direction for the church, they must say no to that idea. However, don’t confuse no to your idea with the no of personal rejection.
Perhaps nothing reveals our hearts faster than how we respond to a no from leadership! Even in highly permissional churches, leaders are responsible to say no to ideas that they perceive will not directly fulfill the direction of Christ for their church! I expect that this blog will stir up some visceral responses…how do you handle it when a leader says no?