A Chance Encounter – By Rev. Alan Mead Monday Morning – By Rev. Alan Mead

Self-Differentiated – By Rev. Alan Mead

As one who has been practicing interim ministry for many years I have come to think of myself as developing a healthy sense of self-differentiation. What a surprise, outside of a church setting, in a meeting that I was chairing, when I had just returned from vacation and wasn’t fully prepared, to find myself being reactionary! As a part of me observed the interactions and dynamics I thought, “Wow! This is going badly and I am making it worse.” I took a deep breath and ….

We have probably all experienced some similar setting; people anxious and reactive, looking for answers when there are none that are satisfactory, and almost stumbling over one another to voice frustration and anger. One colleague I know has developed a method and demeanor to “shut it down,” moving conversation forward by not allowing any venting. Others, including myself, allow thoughts and feelings to be expressed, with a ground rule that insists on it reflecting one’s feeling or thought about a situation and not attacking or singling out individuals to blame.

It didn’t help that I hadn’t met with the association manager and didn’t have the facts at my fingertips. It didn’t help that there were 10 times more people present than at a normal monthly Board meeting. It certainly didn’t help that I was feeling just as frustrated as everyone else at the meeting. What did help, as the criticism reverberating through the room began to repeat, was taking a deep breath and …

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