EPISODE #95 – Sheep that bite and wolves that bicker
Bob (Replant Guru) and JimBo (the Good Doctor) discuss how to deal with biting sheep and bickering wolves.
Listen to them fully
Repeat back to them what they said and ask if that is correct
Go to the Bible
Your perspective is your perspective
God’s word is God’s word = get them to take their issue/complaint, attitude and submit it to God’s word
Warn and Teach – Colossians 1:28-29
Remove the divisive and destructive – Titus 3:10
[00:00:00] Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: Hey, here we are at the bootcamp back at it again. And I’m joined by the illustrious, the intelligent, the hilarious and the creative Dr. Jimbo Stewart. How are you doing? Jimbo.
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: I’m doing great. How are you? Replant guru. Beautiful below average, Bob Bickford.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: Do you know what Jimbo I’m doing? Pretty good. I’m getting ready to go on vacation. So I’m
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: Vacation is always good.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: I need some time away to be with our family or grandkids, so it should be fun.
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: Hey, so what are you doing for vacation? What does that, what does vacation for the big birds look like?
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: Well, Jimbo, I, this is not going to inspire anybody we are going and nobody thinks about going here for vacation. Nobody wakes up in the morning and says, you know what, let’s go to Oklahoma city for vacation. I don’t think anybody’s ever said that. and I don’t have anything against Oklahoma city, but I just don’t think a lot of people think about it as a vacation destination, but because our kids [00:01:00] are grown, kids are too big.
Kids are in Texas. Yeah. We’re trying to meet somewhere in between and accommodate travel schedules and little kids and work schedules and all that. The nexus of all that when we charted it out was Oklahoma city. So
there we go. So
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: what, what fun activities, what fun activities are there for you guys to do as a family in Oklahoma?
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: well, they’ve got a zoo. they’ve got something called the brick yard. They’ve got a baseball team. They have a museum park, you know, so there’s several things that we can do. Of course, being the Yelp elite, I’ll have to find, uh, some good eating establishments, you know, one or two of those. And then, uh, we’ve, you know, we’ve rented a big house.
We’re all gonna pile in there and play games and laugh and spend time together. And, we’re bringing, you know, some games for the kids and puzzles and board games and that sort of thing. You know, w we’ll make our, we’ll make some of our own funds while we’ll go discover some of Oklahoma city’s fun. I’m thankful that this is not the springtime [00:02:00] because in springtime in Oklahoma city, there are tornadoes you know, you’re dealing with, uh, you got to have tropical storm coming you’re going to have to deal with that. But, you know, in Jacksonville, you hardly ever get anything, but in Oklahoma city, during tornado season, it’s a bad deal, but you know what, it’s summer, we’re probably not going to the alternative.
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: Yeah, we’ve got, so we’re recording this a week ahead of time. I will be in the beautiful Colorado next week. up there with our buddy mark Halleck for his non ignorable conference. And so you’ll get this after that is over on the podcast, just got back from South Carolina for July 4th weekend.
we are. We’re we’re hunkering down, getting ready for Elsa to come through and hit us. So there are lots of great memes, related to the movie, frozen and, and hurricanes, on our local internet stations of social media here in the Jacksonville, Florida area. you talk about baseball when I was in South Carolina.
I got to go to, I got to tell you about a victorious [00:03:00] moment that I had. We went to a minor league and like the lowest level of minor, minor league
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: like the kind where they get people out of the stands to play that kind of low level of minor league.
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: not, not quite that low. Uh, it was literally called low a is the categorization, uh, low? Yeah. Is, it was it’s the Augusta green jackets. and it was the Augusta green jackets versus the Columbia fireflies. And after the game, I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a minor league game. and they do this other game students, you can buy a bag of tennis balls and they’ll set up these Hulu.
With prizes. And from your seat, you throw the tennis balls and see if you can get it in one of the hula hoops for a prize. And I was victorious. I won a felt pennant for the Augusta green jackets, by throwing a tennis ball into a hoop that I gave to my nephew,
[00:04:00] Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: that’s
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: really care. I don’t really care about the Augusta green jackets, but we had a good.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: Was their uniforms green that’s I just want to know that. Did they have
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: They were not actually, ironically, they were not green they are a lo a affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. And so they were in Atlanta Braves colors.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: But they were called the green jackets.
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: Well, because of the masters,
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: Any of that stuff?
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: yeah, in Augusta. So, all right. Moving on to the podcast, actual information for today, the last two episodes, I think we’re really good, on cautions for visionaries and costumes for shepherds, that we challenge people to be visionary shepherd leaders and find a balance there.
And one of the ways that, that we see. Things kind of highlighted, uh, in the differences of leadership is when it comes to biting sheep or wolves and how visionary kind of, uh, productivity [00:05:00] based people, handle that versus shepherding can very patient people, in one of the inevitabilities, Pastoral ministry of any kind, whether that’s replanting revitalization, church planting, anything is sometimes the sheep bite. And so how do we handle that, Bob? What do we do when the sheep.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: Yeah, well, Jimbo, I’ve talked to a couple of pastors recently and they’re dealing with that. So I’m sure our listeners far and wide here in us, America and around the world have probably encountered when somebody in their church has decided. that they don’t like something or they’re going to be critical or they’re going to do something.
And so that’s when we talk about sheep biting, it could be a critical email. It could be a, an outburst in a meeting. It could be a behind the scenes campaign. just seeing kind of is helpful to define what a sheep biting might look like. And then you’d mentioned waltz and waltz are basically those people in the congregation who are now. [00:06:00]
Genuinely, what we would say would be regenerate or they might be, they don’t have a relationship with Christ. And so they’re going to, from that character respond in a particular way in terms of life inside the church in a harmful way to hurt the church, that sort of thing. So yeah, finding those two sorts of things.
I think one of the things I, that comes to my mind is Jimbo. When, when you have a sheep, a person in the, in the flock, that’s complaining, I want to listen to them as. And as openly as I possibly can. Right. Because there are a lot of times when people are working out some sort of issue or complaint that they might not have completely formulated it in their mind.
And it’s difficult for them to talk about it. Or as they talk about it, you may lock onto one or two. Pieces of their commentary or what they’re saying, and you might miss the bigger point. And so I think you got to lean in and listen to try to understand what exactly. They say. and so one things I found helpful to [00:07:00] do is you’ve, you’ve just got to re sometimes you have to take what they’re saying and to say something like this, the segway term.
Hey, so let me, let me just kind of repeat back to you what I heard you say. Cause I just want to make sure I understand this correctly and that’s simple practice can help us connect with someone who we might have an emotional response to that we really don’t want to listen to. Right. And so for me, it’s kind of a distance.
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: Yeah, 100%. Agree to that. I think, look, man, this is good marriage advice. This is good. Uh, just advice in general, right? if you can learn to listen, to understand, not listen, to respond. one of my favorite Proverbs Proverbs 18 to a full takes, no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his own opinions.
Uh, and we don’t want, we don’t. We pity that fool. I pity the fool that takes no pleasure in understanding takes no pleasure in understanding, but only expressing his own opinion. And here’s the deal, man, from what I’ve experienced in life and marriage is [00:08:00] the large majority of the time when there is a lot of heat to a disagreement, it’s pretty much guaranteed that somebody is not understanding the other person correctly.
Usually, you’re not that usually now there are times, but usually you are not that diametrically opposed to somebody that it should create such vitriol. Right. And so a lot of times that just means that, okay, I’m not, I’m not understanding and I’m a little bit puzzled. What I’m hearing you say, and here’s the, here’s the deal.
I think everybody should have to take forensics, not scientific forensics, like CSI, but like debate. Right. Everybody should have to learn the rules of Lincoln Douglas debate and the strategies. And one of the big strategies of Lincoln Douglas debate is you’re not ready to debate someone. Truly, unless you understand their point of view, their arguments so well that you can state it back to them in [00:09:00] such a way that they would agree with your, summarization of their point.
Right. And so, unless I can say, Hey, here’s what your point, because this is what we see in politics. This is what we see in, the SBC or, or, or anything where we have these like, You know, two sides of the fence, big oppose things is they’ll say, well, you know, those people, they only believe that. And it’ll state some sort of ridiculous thing that the other people don’t actually believe, right? You’re like, no, that’s not true. Let’s not do that. Let’s not misrepresent truth. It’s so I think, I think it’s so valuable. What you just said that you probably won’t have as emotional of a response. If you could make sure you just really understand what somebody’s saying. And so absolutely ensure that you’re understanding listened fully, repeat back to them what they have said and ask, Hey, here’s say here’s, here’s what I’m hearing you say.
I’m hearing you say that XYZ, is that correct? Is that, am [00:10:00] I understanding your perspective correctly? because here’s the deal about perspective, right? Your perspective is your perspective. It’s not their perspective and their perspective is their perspective. And we, we have to make sure that we are understanding each, each other’s perspective.
And so sometimes, maybe they’re mad at you because they’ve misunderstood. what you’ve done or said. And so you say, Hey, I just want to make sure that we’re on the same page here. You are upset with me because you believe in your perspective that I don’t care about senior adults. Right. Am I right? Am I understand your perspective correctly?
And if they’re like, yeah, absolutely. Of course you don’t care. You you’ve shown us. You don’t care. Okay.
can. I share with you my perspective. from that, because one of the great illustrations I’ve seen as far as the simple illustration is if I hold up my hand to the screen right now, Bob, and you were to describe my hand, you’re going to describe lifelines, cubby fingers.
[00:11:00] Fingerprints, and, and all of that. Right. But from my side, looking at my hand, I see fingernails and I see hairy knuckles and I see, different things than what you see, but neither of us are wrong. We each just have different perspectives. And in order to get the full picture, we got to make sure that we hear each other’s perspectives and understand each other’s perspectives.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: Yeah, I would not use any of those words to describe your hand. Just now I felt this, Jim, you need to get some sun brother. You are pale. You are, you are very paid. Oh, that’s fine. My goodness. That is a one white. He and I have never seen in my life, like
we got to move on. Here’s the next one? Here’s the next thing. I think that’s important when you’re dealing with, biting sheep or an unruly sheep, you’ve got to get to the scriptures. You got to get to the Bible because here’s the deal, right? [00:12:00] Just like perspective. Everybody has an opinion and everybody’s opinion is their opinion.
And our opinion oftentimes is not a sanctified or scripturally informed or spirit filled opinion. And so the quicker we can get to the scripture and understand what God’s opinion is on the matter, I think is super important for us to do so this is not, I’m not saying. You know, it’s like we’re bad. We’re swatting somebody down with the scriptures and opening up the Bible and using the Bible as like a battering Ram.
I’m not saying that, but I think we say, you know what, that’s a, I really I’ve heard you. I hear what you’re saying. And I just am trying to understand biblically, what does God say about that issue? What is his opinion about that issue? Because you and I seem to have two differing opinions about this issue, and I remember you saying you sharing with me a story.
About when you were at, you were having some kind of discussion with somebody in church somewhere and they were proposing something or they wanted to do something and you basically just kind of said, all right. All right. Can you show [00:13:00] me in scripture where you, where that is? And I just remember being one really impressed with just that ability in that moment of great tension to be able to go okay.
But let’s look at the scriptures and discern together. What God’s God’s word says on this matter,
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: Yeah, that happened multiple times, to be honest. And so here’s here. I want to preface before I share a story about it. the word of God is a sword. It is a weapon, but it is not like you said, a weapon to be used to bludgeon other people, right. It is, is meant to cut to the truth. And here’s why that’s important.
the approach I’m about to share really works best. If you consistently create a culture of word driven decision making. Right. And so if consistently in your leader, The people of your church, see that the decisions made in leadership are driven by the word of God. Then you have some legs to stand [00:14:00] on in order to do this right.
But if you like, I have seen it. Some churches opened the Bible, read the passage for the day, close the Bible, place it on the pulpit, and then just preach your own opinion for the next 25 minutes. Or if you just make. Your decisions based off of your gut feelings or the latest trends or the latest blog article that tells you how to grow your church fast.
And you’re constantly just going off of the wisdom of yourself or the wisdom of men. and then all of a sudden in a conflict for the first time that church member sees you use the word of God is an authority that probably won’t go well. And to be honest, it’s probably at that point a little bit manipulative for you to all of a sudden for you to become word centered.
and so here’s the deal. If you can consistently lead in a word centered and word driven way, then here’s what that provides you in conflict. So the one I think you’re bringing up was in the midst of COVID. We had [00:15:00] some leaders in our church that had very strongly expressed opinions about how we should handle the pandemic and what our restrictions and our participation in those restrictions would look like.
Would we require mask or would we not require mask? and, and this particular leader came to me with just very strongly expressed. Opinions that I was leading out of fear and that I was, buying into a hoax and the pandemic was not real. and I said, Hey, listen, I, I understand you have some very strong opinions about this.
And because you’re bringing these opinions to me in such a way that you hope to influence the leadership of this church and how it’s led. I’m hoping that you have some scriptural backing for these convictions and they looked at me and they said, well, no, but I said, okay.
well then here’s what I need you to understand whether you agree or disagree. With how we are choosing to [00:16:00] do this. We’re doing this based off of some scriptural principles. Right? And I talked about Romans 13. I talked about Romans 14 and Ash, and I talked about some texts that were guiding the way that we were approaching, how we were handling some of this. And I said, yes, If you believe that I’m not interpreting or applying those particular passages correctly, or if you have some biblical passages that back your strong convictions, then those are discussions I’m willing to have with you that could influence and change the way. But what I need you to understand is that we’re going to be at word centered and word driven church. and when we make big decisions, especially, we will not make big decisions unless we feel that the word of God has spoken into those decisions. and what I, what I feel like I did in that moment is tell this very strongly expressive person.
it’s not that I’m not willing to hear you. I’m not qualified to sit here and debate over whether. People should wear a mask or not wear a mask. I’m not qualified. I don’t [00:17:00] know enough about the science of things to, to tell you whether we should social distance or not social distance, especially as early on in the process, as we were, were really, nobody was qualified to talk about.
Definitively. Right. and so we just decided to err, on the side of Romans 13 and 14 and applying those in a way that we felt was compassionate, without, without being fear-mongering that allowed opportunities for everybody to worship freely in a way that they had convictions to do. and, and so, but there’s been multiple times, right?
There’s so w what I told our people consistently. As I try to demonstrate, by example here, I’m going to lead through here’s the passage of scripture leading how we’re guide, how we’re leading. If you have agreements are very open to listen to those, but I need you to bring your Bible and we’re going to open our Bibles in that discussion.
And you’re going to share your opinion. I’m going to share my opinion, and then we’re going to go to the word of God and we’re going to see what it has to say. and that one that trumps my opinion and European.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: Yeah, that’s good. You just modeled really? I think one [00:18:00] of the next steps it’s important for us to think about that comes from Colossians 1 28 and 29. And for me, that’s kind of the center, replant verse says him, we proclaim and then talking about centering on the gospel, right from talking about Jesus.
And then it says this warning and teaching. Warning and teaching everyone with all wisdom that we might present them mature in Christ. And then Paul says for this, I toil laboring with all of the strength that he gives me. So a lot of, a lot of things, you know, we’ve talked about this verse before. If you’ve heard me speak at a association with, or at a ma’am gathering, I’ve probably used this verse, but the part that I want to highlight is Jimbo.
You, you did some teaching and you did some morning with that individual in a wise way, right? He brought them to God’s word. You help them see why you were doing what you were doing. You help them understand the basis for your belief that was rooted in God’s word. And then you, you provided a gentle warning, right?
Like, Hey, this is the way we’ve got to lead the church. This is we’ve got to be [00:19:00] about God’s way, not our way and not operating in our own wisdom and that, and I think the way you handled that was very wise and, and, uh, it probably led towards, uh, a moment of decision to. On the part of that person who had the questions, do I, do I submit to the leaders of the church or do I not?
Right. And I think it’s so important for us to realize and anticipate and expect and prepare for conflict and disagreements to occur in the church. None of us are good enough vision, casters or communicators. Teachers or leaders to lead the church forward. And for everybody to be with us 100% of the time, even if we have plurality of elders, we’re going to be engaging in this morning and teaching throughout the life of our ministry.
Heck if Paul had to warn and teach, where do we think that we won’t have to do those things? Right. And I guess I would also add [00:20:00] this, I’m going to say, like Paul said, this is probably one of the hardest things we have to do. We love to teach everybody likes to teach, right? Everybody wants to preach and lead a class or do a special group or smart group or house group or teach on a particular topic.
That sort of thing. We’re all embraced that one, but we don’t embrace the warning side of it. And I think that’s to our own peril. And I think a lot of the churches across north America that are been in decline are in decline because we’ve taught, but we’ve not warned or where we’ve warned. We’ve warned without wisdom.
And the warning came from. I just want these people to get in line and follow me rather than I want them to mature. So what you explained in the conversation with that individual just really captures beautifully the heart towards leading them towards maturity, right. And how to process it have think how to wrestle with the scriptures.
Take what’s presently happening in your life and apply God’s word to it and come out on the other side, hopefully as a more mature follower of Jesus Christ. So [00:21:00] I just want to encourage, you know, go to the Bible, realize the primacy of proclaiming the gospel, but also the, the necessity of warning and teaching and doing that with wisdom.
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: That’s so good. Here’s the thing though, man. Sometimes even if you do everything right,
they’re still going to be people who are causing division and creating issues and they’re destructive and I I’ll never forget, a particular guy. In our church that, I mean, was. Downright verbally abusive to me and to other leaders, he was intentionally creating division, never in a way that people who knew him would see it publicly, which made it hard because you wanted the people.
There are people to this day who don’t know what I had to put up. With this guy who were like, how was he would come back to church? And I’m like, oh no, please. I don’t want him back here. I mean, he, I, I was tempted at times to be like, let me play for [00:22:00] you. Some of the voicemails he left me. and so in particular after one just like brutal voicemail.
When, I mean, I’d been trying for, for months with this guy, You know, the Romans 12, you know, if, if possible, so far as it depends on you be at peace with all people. Right. I was making sure I was doing my part if possible and would do my part so far as it depends on me. I’m going to be at peace with this guy.
but it just wasn’t possible and it just wasn’t going to happen. And I remember I got this voicemail and I really didn’t want to respond. I was having a bad day already and the day it just started and I was like, all right, Lord, I’m not calling this guy right back. I’m going to spend some time in your word.
And I decided to go read Proverbs again because I said, I need some, I read it. I read a chapter Proverbs every day and I decided, Lord, I need you to give me some wisdom. No, it was, it was the 22nd of the month. I know because Proverbs chapter 22 verse 10 came up and I was asking the Lord. I said, Lord, give me wisdom out of provers.
Tell me what to do with this guy. [00:23:00] and I mean, I’ve spoken with my elders about him. We’ve met with him. We, I mean, all sorts of we’ve done everything we can do. And I get chapter 22 verse 10 and it says, drive out a scout. And strife will go out and coralling and abuse will cease.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: amen. Amen.
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: And I thought, okay, okay, Lord, I’ve heard you. I heard what you said it. So I called the guy, I even said in my spirit with the Lord, I was like, all right, Lord, am I, am I hearing you correctly here? That I just need to tell this guy to go, and, and look, maybe you disagree with me and you can let me know. I’d love to hear your point. I felt the holy spirit confirm it’s time to tell this guy to go.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: I bear witness and I affirmed that word from the Lord.
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: Sure. So I called the guy. I was just like, look, I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to measure up to the standards that you expect me to. And to be honest, I think you, and I [00:24:00] see my role. As a pastor so differently that I don’t really desire to meet the standards that you have. And I just don’t think I’m going to end up ever being the pastor that you feel is necessary for you.
And so I would encourage you to look elsewhere to see if you can find that guy. And he said, so are you kicking me out of the chair? And I said, no, I’m not kicking you out of the church. I’m telling you I am done. Trying to meet your expectations. I’ve realized not only can I not meet your expectations, I don’t think it’s what I’m supposed to do.
I don’t think I’m supposed to try to meet those expectations. And so either we’ve got to come to a resolution on that or you, you probably need to leave, because I haven’t felt the Lord tell me it’s time for me to.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: that is good. here’s the reality. Some of our listeners are in small groups. Normative sized churches and they get a lot [00:25:00] on the line, right. They move to a community there. We brought their family there. They have, moved into the parsonage if there’s a parsonage. and they’re in, they’re in a situation where, because of the congregational governance of the church, they realized that there they walk a thin line.
And here’s the reality. That system is rife for abuse. It just is right for abuse. And it is also, opportunistic in that controllers and family founders and people who feel like the church is theirs and it’s not Jesus’ church. They can rise up and exercise control over that church thinking they’re doing the right thing.
And so if you follow, a pastor who placated those controllers in those bullies, and didn’t resist them on biblical grounds, you may find yourself in a challenging position where you’re going to have to determine, do I just keep going to get along or do I [00:26:00] contend for the health and the maturity of this church?
And so one things I would say. is contend for the health and the maturity of the church. Right? I think of a Titus three 10, which says, for a person who stirs up division after warning them once and twice have nothing to do with them. Right. So some folks need to be warned. And the thing there is.
They’re warned multiple times, not just once. And so the reality is the person that you’re dealing with has had issues, not just, you’re not the first time they’ve had issues, right? it needed to be warned. And then obviously for the health of the body and for the Ford progress of the gospel, you need to help some people find their next place to go.
And I think you did a great job with that. Uh, I love how you said you’re not kicking them out of the church, but you just plainly explained here’s who I am. Here’s what you do. This is not going to work. And, and I think from that, and I would suspect Jimbo that, universal Proverbs says that that, uh, strifeful cease.
Right? And so I think pastors, one of the things you, you need to realize is sometimes it takes a stand and it takes some courage to [00:27:00] stand up against some of these folks that are not going to get on board. And they’re just not going to be about what what’s your vision is or what God’s vision is for the church.
And sometimes you just need to help them find a place to go to. And that’s a hard thing to do because people are super connected within a church. Right. but I just encourage you to do that. And then the body will heal and then, and if not, and God moves you somewhere else, then rejoice in that as
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: Yeah, it was, I’m going to say the clothes. It’s a good thing. He caught me on the 22nd of the month where I read that. And not four days earlier on the eighth, where in Proverbs 18, six, another one of my favorite says a fool’s lips walk into a fight and his mouth invites a beating.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: So you would have, would you have read that verse in, uh, punched him then? Is
JimBo Stewart – The Good Doctor: I mean, I would have considered it. I wouldn’t, I mean, I definitely considered it, but I mean, it, it just might not have been good timing. Yeah. So it was in the board’s providential time. We did, he [00:28:00] caught me on the 22nd, not the 18th.
Bob Bickford – Replant Guru: That’s great.
biting sheep, conflict, willingness to confront, word driven leadership