DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

How Much Respect Do You Want?

Written by: on January 31, 2019

(I am going to apologize in advance of this post. To be blatantly honest, I have been working on our church auditorium remodel every day for the past two weeks, and though it is nearly finished, it has taken a toll on my reading. I have rushed through this week’s post, and have thus, not included as much side research as I would have liked).

             So I must admit something else this week; when I first saw the title of this week’s reading, I literally rolled my eyes at it. Once again, I find another book on “business” in my evangelism class. However, I have also really been trying to allow myself to realize that the modern-day church can still learn from modern day business, and therefore, I searched for something to educate me. I am happy to report, I was not as disappointed as I feared I would be; in fact, I found one particular chapter to be very relevant to a few of the discussions we have held in my bible classes lately. Primarily, it was the chapter titled, “How much respect do you want?[1]” When the very first line of the chapter began with, “What does a good boss look like?” I was intrigued.

Before I continue from this point of the text, I should share a conversation I had a few months back with a woman who does NOT attend our church. As soon as she heard that I was a minister, she referred to me as “Pastor Shawn.”

My reply was simple; “Just Shawn is fine…after all, we are all in this together.”

Her reply however was, “No, no, I want to show you respect…so I shall call you, Pastor Shawn.”

My reply: “If you really want to show me respect, please don’t call me Pastor…it is a title that is highly abused and misused around this town…Please just call me Shawn.”

Well, “Shawn” it was. However, she seemed agitated for the rest of the conversation; so agitated that I had to further instruct her on why the term “pastor” was not a word we used around our church. The fact is that many of the clergy in Roseburg have abused the use of “pastor” so much, that when they use it, it sounds as snooty as rich people talking down to homeless children. So we have discussed how we as Christian leaders and even, just good old Christians, really want to be seen by those we are hoping to teach the gospel to.

 

Okay…so back to the topic at hand. The chapter continues to address what the reader would picture as the perfect leader; including descriptions from clothing labels, gender, automobile selection, and yes…title. The chapter further compared the various perceptions regarding a highly successful supervisor that had relocated from Denmark to Saint Petersburg; not only the perceptions made by “Jepsen[2]” with his new staff; but also how the new staff view him. The problem discovered was that there were significant cultural gaps between the two locations, and thus, significance in their interpretations of good leadership.

For me, I could not help but see how, even within our own cohort, this problem persists. The concept of culture emanates throughout every fiber of this program; creating “gaps” throughout this entire process; however, it also provides opportunity for learning from others who do not share the same views that we have become accustomed to. As I look at my own opportunities to become a more effective minister, I am often slapped around with the reality that not everyone sees things exactly the way that I do (I know…shocking). So below are the three most prevalent ‘gaps’ I have perceived just within our own cohort, which may help or hinder us from becoming more effective evangelists.

  1. The literal culture gap: We have students and professors living in or residing from the United States, China, France, and Canada. Furthermore, even though the majority is from the US, they do not reside in the same states; thus, even their cultures vary. As a man that has lived in 16 different states in his life, believe me when I say that all states are not the same.
  2. The spiritual culture gap: Even more aggressive in our beliefs regarding spiritual matters, we find ourselves divided over doctrines, creeds, and the signs located over the door. We have representatives from the Catholic movement, the Reformation movement, and the Restoration movement…and those are just the ones that I am familiar with. If we were to track origins, we would see that each group holds different leaders in high regard, and they probably even recognize different historical chapters in their own group’s evolution. In addition to all of those, this particular division also provides a division in biblical interpretation, which many of us struggle with letting go of.
  3. The personal culture gap: This gap is a result of the life that we have lived outside of, or even including our spiritual relationship to Christ. It is our perception of how things should be in the world that we believe is acceptable. It could divide us based upon gender, race, upbringing, politics, or financial status. Lately, our congregation has had a number of discussion regarding the new abortion laws being passed in some of the states; the discussion are not positive. However, someone else in our program may have entirely different views due to the fact that they have encountered something or someone in their life that has influenced them on the subject.

 

So what is the point? Well, it draws me back to the first question in this chapter… “How much respect do you want?”

 

Well, as we all are seeking a “Doctor of Ministry” degree, I guess this question really resonated with me; after all, I really could care less about the title, but rather, I hope to teach college bible someday, and figured this was a good stepping stone. “But how much respect do I want?” Do I want respect from my peers as one of my Master’s degree professors taught me, “To impress them with how knowledgeable I am”? Do I want respect in “title” by making everyone call me “Dr. Hart,” because it makes me look important? Do I want respect with money; deciding with my higher education my church should HAVE to pay me more…because I have earned it?

Well, actually, I don’t want any of those things. My desire as an evangelist is that people will see the love of God that exists in me as I try to share with them the gospel. The reading suggested that “symbolic gestures can send important signals about the style of leadership you practice.[3]” The apostle Paul taught Timothy to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth[4].” Furthermore, he wrote to the Corinthian church, “Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ[5].” And then, again to Timothy he taught, “But be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity[6].” That is the evangelist I hope to be.

I will not lie; I have absolutely no use for books on business…NONE. It is just not me; never has been. However, I know that Mark and Dr. Jason are both passionate about the role that business can have on ministry. Because of that fact, I realize that to connect with them, I may have to go over myself and try to understand what is important to them in order for me to truly have an opportunity at winning them to Christ (an example…I know they both know Jesus). We have to understand the cultures of others because they can be the most difficult barriers to conquer if we hope to teach the gospel to others.

 

Bibliography

 Meyer, Erin. The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business.New York: Public Affairs, 2014.

[1]Meyer, Erin. The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business. New York: Public Affairs, 2014. P. 115.

[2]Ibid, p. 118.

[3]Ibid, p. 133.

[4]2 Timothy 2:15.

[5]1 Corinthians 11:1.

[6]I Timothy 4:12.

About the Author

Shawn Hart

11 responses to “How Much Respect Do You Want?”

  1. mm M Webb says:

    Shawn,
    Your honesty is accepted. I was sick all week with the flu, still am, and struggled to focus enough to put a post together. It is tough when we are distracted with life happens stuff for sure. I bet the remodel will be awesome and bring a lot of comfort and joy for your members.
    I agree with the woman you used in your example of whether to call you a “pastor”. We might need to have an off-line discussion about this, but we will save that for another time sir.
    I will commend you for the solid and transparent literal, spiritual, and personal gap descriptions that you offered.
    I think the parable of the 10 talents inspires some business stewardship in ministry and use it for sure in my marketplace ministry.
    How do you feel about the Apostle Paul calling you a “saint” in numerous verses in the Bible?
    Stand firm,
    M. Webb

    • Shawn Hart says:

      Hope you feel better soon bud.

      I understand that even among churches, there is a different cultural understanding as to how we view certain terminology; including the word “pastor.” However, I also believe that as teachers, it is our obligation to take advantage of good teaching opportunities.

      As for “saints,” I do not believe that to be a title, but rather a classification of our status as members of the body of Christ. As is related to my own dissertation, Paul frequently ties the “saints” to those who have been baptized into Christ Jesus. For this reason, it is not a title of status, but rather a declaration of membership into the body.

  2. Thanks fo this post, Shawn, and for highlighting some of the culture gaps within our own cohort. Learning to interact with others fomr another culture is really an act of love and respect. It is a way of dying to onesself, and seeking the best of the other, of radical hospitality. I see you doing that as you engage in our cohort, with all of our diversity. Thank you.

    • Shawn Hart says:

      Thanks Jennifer. It’s kind of funny; I am currently doing a 14 week series on the qualities of “LOVE” as stipulated in 1 Corinthians 13. One of those qualities is that “love suffers…” I believe God knew that sometimes we needed to stretch ourselves in order to communicate properly as Christians. Sadly, sometimes we aren’t willing to “suffer” as much as we should. I have not perfected it yet…but I pray I am still a work in progress.

  3. mm Dan Kreiss says:

    Shawn,

    The fact that you chose this program demonstrates that you have a genuine desire to be stretched in your faith and your ability to provide Christian leadership cross-culturally. You rightly recognize the diversity in our own cohort even though all of us a white and hold U.S. citizenship. That demonstrates how important a book like this can be even for those in ministry. We no longer live in a world (or nation) where we can assume that we share the same culture even if we share race or language. Hang in there with the ‘business’ readings as you clearly have been able to draw out some worthwhile insights from each of the texts so far.

    I hope the remodeling is just about finished up for you and you can get back to some more consistent routines.

    • Shawn Hart says:

      Thanks Dan…auditorium is almost finished…and looking great. I am not entirely sure why this example popped into my mind after reading your response, but I thought about Dr. Jason relating the similarity between American’s and their guns and the English and their knives. To an American, we might see these two as completely different things; and yet, Jason seemed to relate them as very similar in respect. Only when we see from each other’s eyes can we really find a starting place for the ministry that I hope to be part of. I will admit though…somedays I wonder if the angels are laughing or crying at my stubbornness.

  4. Greg says:

    Hey Shawn. We have all had weeks that we barely made it when turning our blogs in ( maybe more than I care to admit). Another area that drives me crazy is pastors that call themselves “rev”. This is a title bestowed by others out of respect. I have too much to say on this but will let it go for now :-). And as you pointed out when the 15 of us get together we have 15 distinct opinions on things. That can be a good thing. You have even recognized that speaking about business (as mission) is a cross cultural conversation for you. That alone helps frame it not as a argument but as one coming to see the value of an opinion that you might not understand nor agree. Thanks brother.

    • Shawn Hart says:

      My struggle is learning to not turn the channel until I give the broadcast a chance to sink in…if you get my meaning. I think the church of Christ has had a long line of problems with people that have tried to run things entirely like a business and in the process, end up losing the spiritual. I fear I have a little wall when “business” is a major facet. Fortunately, I am conscious of it, and am trying to make that wall scaleable.

  5. Great post under the circumstances Shawn. I would much rather help with a remodel project than read a book and write a blog any day 🙂 I’m thinking if we had more people like you focused on evangelism in the business world this world would be a better place. Although the world of business tends to be mostly secular, I think they are starving for divine purpose and meaning. God bless you bro.

  6. Shawn Hart says:

    Thanks Jake, that means a lot. I know there is a balance between the two; furthermore, I am even more confident that there is a ministry at the core…I will keep searching for that ministry.

    I believe we have a group of people in this program that have all found a place in Christ that they are searching for meaning and purpose; for some, that place is business…for myself that is just a little foreign still. I’m working on it.

  7. mm Kyle Chalko says:

    Shawn, I’m perplexed by your reluctance to pick up a business book.

    Scripturally I don’t see a case for it.

    As pastors, (or evangelists in your case?) we tend to be very good at learning and teaching wisdom (aka God’s principles that are timeless and never change) but we are not so good at learning “knowledge” which is something that changes with each generation. This knowledge or AKA, best practices, are all things which can help us with our mission.

    If there is truth in a business book, we need not be intimidated or threatened by it. All truth is God’s truth. Its a weird attitude to hear you disregard this knowledge because its from a business or secular source. It reminds me of the christians who rejected certain vaccines because they were invented by non-christians, or the christians who rejected algebra because it was invented by a Muslim.

    All truth is God’s truth.
    We need the truth of both wisdom and knowledge.

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