I really hate being splashed at the pool. I mean, to me, it’s like these tiny, freezing, darts attacking you. This is especially true if the water is cold and I am too big of a wuss to get into the water. Last week we were really blessed to be able to spend the week at a resort in Las Vegas with an AMAZING pool, but with 3 small kids who love to splash, and water temperature that was somehow close to freezing, it was a recipe for me to get really frustrated.
One day I sat my kiddos down and explained to them (for the 15th time) that neither I, nor other folks, like being splashed. I could deduce this from the other people at the pool growling and giving evils stares each time my daughter jumped in the pool 2 feet from where they were sitting on the edge causing them to get splashed…again. What was incredible about the conversation with Mckenna was when I asked her if she realized people really didn’t like being splashed? She looked at me with such innocent eyes and replied, “No, why don’t they like being splashed?”
Now this shocked me for a couple reasons: 1) This was the 257th time I had told her people don’t like being splashed and 2) because she was completely oblivious to the fact that something she was just fine with could cause discomfort to someone else. She liked being splashed, so everyone must like being splashed…even when they tell her otherwise.
This may sound odd, but this quickly made me think about how church leaders sometimes operate. As we boldly lead our churches, we end up splashing folks along the way. Sure, these little splashes seem pretty harmless, and shouldn’t be a big deal, but to the one being splashed it feels like a complete lack of awareness and consideration. Whether it be a cutting remark in a staff meeting, or failing to respond quickly (or at all) to a member’s email, these little splashes can end up seriously wounding people over time.
I want to challenge you to ask some people close to you (other than your spouse) about ways you might be splashing others. Chances are, you are like my daughter and are completely oblivious that you’re splashing at all, or you think it’s no big deal – but you need to find out. Let’s face it, in the grand scheme of things, a splash in the pool in no big deal, but how we splash those we lead in the church can have a major negative impact. So, as a leader, be respectful in the pool.