Leader to Leader, Leadership

Ease Resistance With 3 Powerful Steps

September 20, 2017 | Posted by Jeff Meyer

“I hate missional. The term makes my skin crawl. Every time I hear it, I just want to run away. I’m so tired of it.”

One of our lifeGroup leaders shared this at a recent leadership training session. A member of his group had apparently had enough of the training and encouragement to “be missional.” The lifeGroup member was ready to quit, the leader, exasperated. He had tried everything he could think of to convince, to explain, to push. Nothing he attempted was helping.

If you lead, you will face resistance. While it may be difficult, resistance is also necessary. There is no movement without it.

What is your go-to response when you are confronted with stiff resistance? Your answer may be, “Depends.” Yes, your response probably depends on the degree to which any of your core values are being challenged. The higher you value something that is being challenged, the higher probability you will respond to the strong resistance with equal strength. The less important values…less intense push back. Choose our battles, right?

So, what can we do when the battle is necessary?


As our lifeGroup Leadership Director listened to the leader share his frustration with this situation, she listened well, without defense. The lifeGroup member could not get past the word missional.

The resistance was well documented. It did us no good to keep defending the term. So, we put the term aside for a moment.

Find Common Ground

We then found a common definition of the word that we all felt we could all rally around.

Missional – an adjective that describes the life of a person who follows Jesus.

The discussion that followed was so invigorating. Our lifeGroup Leaders began to ask questions. Who defines the characteristics of this life? Where can we find out more about what Jesus has to say?

The Gospels!

Create Something Helpful

How can we help the members of our group discover this for themselves? What can we put in their hands that will help them deal with their own resistance to what Jesus calls us to?

From that conversation we developed this simple tool. Suddenly, the word “missional” melted away. People were collaborating around the essence of the terms discipleship and missional without uttering the words. Jesus has a way of doing that, doesn’t He? If we would just learn to listen curiously, find common ground, and create new paths of discovery.

I would love to hear what you come up with during your next challenging conversation. You can email me at jeffreysmeyer22@gmail.com.

Jeff Meyer
Jeff is a father to four daughters, father-in-law, grandfather, and husband to Amy.  He serves as the Lead Pastor of a multi-site movement in Madison, WI called the Church (livelifetogether.com). He also serves as a Lead Navigator for Auxano. You can follow Jeff at jeffmeyer.org.