Going to School

by Dr. S. Paul Raybon

In my recent E-ncourager article When People Choose Poorly, under the heading “Refuse to be Complicit,” I laid out a number of things we need to learn. Learn not to be an enabler. Learn not to engage in pointless arguments. Learn not to be tolerant of intolerable behavior and language. Learn to speak truth with grace.
Where do we “go to school” to learn these things? For me there have been a number of good tutors:

  • The resources and practices of Al-Anon and Nar-Anon, for friends and family of alcoholics and other addicts, have been a primary source for learning about my role in the lives of those dealing with addiction issues.
  • Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend is a very helpful and accessible read. Edwin Friedman’s Generation to Generation, though focused on congregational life, is a good introduction to family systems.
  • On a much more in your face and practical level, foster family training through the local Department of Social Services was an eye-opening and helpful education in healthy ways of dealing with unimaginable levels of dysfunction.
  • Many ministers are experiencing the value of therapy as a tool to learn about their own enabling, rescuing, and people-pleasing tendencies.
  • Finally, when you have learned you need to do, a good coach can help you stay on track in setting and maintaining good healthy boundaries and practices in life and ministry.

These thoughts above are from Rev. Dr. Paul Raybon, our partner in ministry in the Western Carolinas, who can help you and your ministry navigate congregational unity and effectiveness. He is Associate Pastor at Hominy Baptist Church near Asheville, NC and works with churches and leaders as a coach and consultant in communication, visioning, administration, and spiritual formation. Email him for more information about how he can help you.

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