I recently wrote a blog post on the problem of being overly nice in ministry. Here are the main points:
- You can find yourself working far more than is good for you or your family, not to reach your own goals, but to accommodate the needs and desires of others. You can say "yes" because you're too nice to say "no."
- You can avoid taking a stand with a difficult person that leads to bigger problems later. Whether it's a staff person or a lay leader, niceness can cause you to let too many things go, because it's easier. Too late, you realize that you have to take a much bigger stand for the sake of the church.
- You avoid moving forward with key initiatives because you don't want to upset anyone. Or you back off on something new, whether a new worship approach or an outreach ministry, when people don't like what is happening. Edwin Friedman called this "valuing peace over progress."
Anne Andert commented that when she was a critical care nurse before she went into ministry, the acronym for NICE was: Nothing is Critically Evaluated. She said, "we don't get to critical if we stay with nice," meaning critical in the best sense. The opposite of nice is not mean-spirited, but being able to take a stand.
What do you think?
Read the original article and the numerous astute comments here.