Things I’ve Learned Never to Say

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I’ve learned there are some things I should never say.  That’s true in life, too.  But right now I’m talking about small group ministry.  There are just some things that you should never say.  I think most of the things you should never say are pretty obvious.  But some of them might surprise you.

From now on…

For example, I’ve learned to never say, “Here’s how we’re going to do things from now on.” Do you have that line on your “never say” list?  It’s an important one to have on your list because the small group leaders in your ministry are always forming an opinion about your leadership.  And every time you say “blah, blah, blah from now on…” and then change your mind later, your leaders chalk it up to one more time that you said something that wasn’t really the case.

Need an actual example?  How about this one: “From now on we’re only going to ask our groups to join us for one church-wide experience a year.”  Now, I think you should only be doing one a year, but as soon as you say “from now on” it’s only a matter of time until a unique situation or opportunity causes the need to change to bubble to the surface.

That’s a crazy idea…

Another thing I’ve learned never to say is “that’s a crazy idea.” Admittedly, I might utter those words to myself, but out loud I’ve learned it’s better to say, “Tell me more about what you’re thinking.”  First of all, when someone comes to me with an idea, I need to encourage that behavior.  And second, I’ve just learned that some of the concepts that I initially said were crazy now shape my philosophy of ministry (i.e., the small group connection and the HOST strategy).

That will never work…

This one is probably a no-brainer for most of us, but it’s a big one.  I’ve just found that being open to possibilities is the best course of action.  If my first reaction is to say “that will never work,” I’m going to miss out on some of the ideas that change the landscape.  And so are you!  Far better to say, “what am I missing about that idea?”  Or even, “There’s an upside and a downside to everything.  What’s the upside that I’m missing?”  Or to say, “What would have to happen for this to work?”

Your Thoughts?

Those are just three of the things I’ve learned never to say.  And in the interest of full disclosure, there are probably still times that I say them.  But I try really hard not to.  And it makes ministry a lot easier and much more fun.

How about you?  Are there some things you’ve learned never to say?  Use the comment section to chime in!

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  1. Ben Reed on July 15, 2010 at 7:02 am

    Here’s one:
    “That person could never be a leader.” Thankfully, God has never given up on me.

  2. Mark Howell on July 15, 2010 at 7:14 am

    That’s right! Me too! Thanks Ben!


  3. cheryl shireman on July 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    How about, “Hey, why don’t you guys split your group up and form two groups!” That sentence will not win you many friends in your small group ministry. 🙂

  4. Mark Howell on July 15, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    THAT is a classic line! Very true…and the basis for ideas like encouraging groups to “take a small group vacation!” Love it…thanks Cheryl!