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Is Treating People Differently the same thing as Favoritism?

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Should church leaders treat all people in their church the same way? Most people I’ve run across in church-world cringe at this kind of a question and come to the conclusion that if you don’t treat everyone the same then you end up playing favorites as a leader. What if I told you that playing favorites is exactly what good church leaders do?

People are Unique

If you really believe that each individual in your church is unique then why wouldn’t you treat them uniquely? If we follow the Apostle Paul’s assertion that the Church is the Body of Christ and each person has a unique role to play (elbow, hand, foot, etc.), then why would we treat everyone the same? Why would we expect everyone to act the same if they are created to perform different functions and produce different results?

Not everyone should Sing on Stage

This is probably the easiest example I can think of, and if you’ve been in a church for any length of time one you can probably relate to. I’m sure you’ve been to a church where there was someone on stage singing (leading worship) who simply wasn’t very gifted. They were flat or sharp. Perhaps they were awkward and uncomfortable on stage. Simply put they shouldn’t be on stage leading worship. But because most churches would rather not hurt one person’s feelings by telling them the truth (that they can’t sing very well), they keep them on stage and turn a lot of people off to Jesus.

Not everyone is a Leader

The bible describes leadership as a spiritual gift, a gift that not everyone gets, and a gift that’s given in different measure to different people. As a result, leadership by its very nature is exclusive. After all could you imagine everyone in your church trying to lead? It would be chaos. Your church should treat leaders differently. Church leaders shouldn’t invest their time developing people who don’t have a leadership gift to be someone they aren’t gifted by God to be. You can disagree with me and call it favoritism if you want to, but I would call it being a poor steward.

What about Money?

This is where things get really testy in church-world. Should church leaders treat people who have the capacity to make a significant amount of money and be generous with it differently than other people? Well if we follow this same line of thought then the answer is an obvious yes. Why is it that an entire “industry” has been built around one spiritual gift (leadership) in church world and it’s okay to make a big deal about that but we ignore people with the gift of generosity? Why is it wrong to invest in people with the gift of generosity and help develop them their gift?

I could go on…but you probably get the point.


Posted in Leadership

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