any pastors secretly struggle with measuring up to very successful pastors and churches. It’s tough, but it comes with ministry. People compare pastors. In this post I suggest a few ways to deal with this “measure up mentality.” I begin with one pastor’s experience. He received this e-mail from someone in his church. The names are changed to protect the innocent (uh, I mean the guilty).
As a minister, you have surely asked yourself, “Why do I do this?” When we ask such questions it usually comes at a time of discouragement or personal struggle. When discouraged or weighing motives, instead of asking the negative question, “Why do I do this?” I think it important to consider the positive, affirming statement, “Why I do this.”
Let’s face it; the church is not always pretty! In fact, there are times when we would say, “The church is downright ugly.” Laugh out loud or cry out loud? Regardless of our response, God has given us the responsibility of shepherding the church.
The book of Acts describes the amazing story of Jesus’ work through the Holy Spirit in the early church. With an explosive start, problems were certain to surface. And they did. In the first example of internal dissension the Apostles displayed great leadership. The church had grown so rapidly that some of the widows were being overlooked in the regular distribution of food (Acts 6.1-7). And murmuring began that potentially could fracture the church. However, they lead the church well and model for us 9 things great leaders do.
About two years ago I accompanied my sons on a hike up Mount Le Conte, a 6,593 foot mountain peak in the Smoky Mountains overlooking Gatlinburg, Tn. This is a grueling hike. I have made the hike a number of times. This particular hike was different. I was approaching my sixtieth birthday and my sons were in their 30s. The energy and age difference was obvious. I had to push on, even when I felt like my engine was running out of gas. (I can laugh about it now.)
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One: I hate the conflict. It has been with us from the beginning (see Acts 6:1-7). God can use conflict to achieve good results, but it’s no fun and unless it’s handled well will, it can hold the church up to ridicule in the community.
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One: I like the idea of church – a regular gathering of the redeemed to worship, remember, nurture one another, hammer out questions, and hold one another accountable. After all, “it is not good for man to be alone.” We were made needing one another and do not function well in isolation.
Do you ever feel like you have it bad? All of us have been there. A good prescription for such times is studying the trials experienced by the Apostle Paul. I recently led a study of II Corinthians. A major emphasis in this book is Paul’s sufferings and trials. Any minister who reads this book will find his trials to be minimal in comparison. When we think we have the worst situation possible we can look around and find someone whose situation is worse. This is certainly the case when we compare our trials to those of Paul.
Judy and I have a dog named Lucy. Lucy is a delight to be around. She always wags her tail when someone approaches her. She always has a cheerful countenance. She will help you keep things in perspective. A while back I came home from work with a negative spirit. I walked into our home and Lucy helped me change my attitude. She convinced me to play ball with her. It is hard to play ball with a dog and not receive a new perspective.
I hate disappointing people. And, every time I say the word “NO,” someone isn’t happy with my answer.
Has anyone ever suggested that you relax? Such suggestions usually stir my hidden animal instincts. I want to strike these people. LOL! Most of the time these suggestions come from people who care about me. The suggestions also come at times when my face betrays me. Those who know me see the need for me to relax. The need to relax slips in when the demands are greater than the energy or the clock does not allow enough flexibility to get everything done.
“Don’t try anything today without relying on the power of God!”
I occasionally like to correct a myth I have heard all my life. How many times has someone said to you, “God will never put more (trials) on you than you can bear”?
I challenge you to show me that in the Bible. God WILL allow more than you can bear.
The problem I have with that lie is that, as innocently as it is given - even offered mostly as encouragement, it’s not encouraging at all.
aniel and his three friends are some of my favorite Biblical characters. They modeled what it means to live a life of integrity, which is taking a beating today. Several years ago, James Patterson and Peter Kim authored the book, The Day America told the Truth. They conducted a survey by asking Americans what they would be willing to do for 10 million dollars. Here’s what they learned.
Have you failed in some endeavor in life: marriage, business, school, a relationship, or an investment?
These are the tip of the iceberg of endeavors that individuals have tried and failed. The good news is that failure is never fatal or final.
In 2010, a bank foreclosed on the church property and building of the church I was serving. Foreclosures do not occur with churches, do they? We are supposed to be people of faith. God does not allow His people to fail. Continue reading!
A few days ago I visited my mother and helped with several projects around her home. I spent the night and left early the next morning. After getting in my truck I realized I needed gas. I came up with a plan. I reasoned that when I arrived in Alexandria I would buy gas and another cup of coffee for the ride home. There is nothing like riding down the road, in a quiet truck, with a fresh cup of coffee.