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.
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.)
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.
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.
Have you ever had to face people who doubted you? Such doubt can take many forms: doubting your leadership ability, doubting your preaching, doubting your integrity, or doubting your character.
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!