One of the most discouraging seasons of leadership is when people will not follow. Such disheartening situations can be the actual facts or they can be our perception of the facts. Regardless of the reason we need to examine the cold hard facts of this problem.
I recently presented a new idea concerning the youth ministry at our church. I used the following protocol in presenting the idea: I presented the idea to my pastor, then to the youth workers, and finally I met with the parents. After working this process my ideas flew to a successful destination.
Who has influenced your thinking as a Bible student? Up until the time I went to seminary, I had accepted an interpretation of Revelation based on my religious training and heritage. At seminary I adopted a new interpretation of Revelation based on the teachings of a professor. The professor greatly influenced my thinking.
Have you ever been guilty of making assumptions? I am tempted with this dangerous act almost every day. How does it play out?
My last name is Patrick. I am of Irish descent. Irish folks are given credit for being impatient people. That certainly holds true in our family. My grandfather was not a patient man. My father was not a patient man. I have struggled with patience. The roots run deep.
Last year my wife and I built a new home. While we were building we also dug a small catfish pond. We have been excited about this new venture (the pond). Each afternoon we feed the catfish. We can almost see them growing before our eyes. We anticipate the day we catch our first fish. Recently I made two mistakes that, due to my inexperience, almost killed our fish.
How do you handle frustration? Notice I did not say, “How to Avoid Frustration.” When you serve in ministry the question is not “if” but “when” you face frustration. It is a daily companion when working with people.
When I think of frustration I am always drawn to Moses. We get frustrated dealing with 50, 100, or 200 people. This is not to minimize your frustration but to magnify Moses as a learning model. Moses had to manage a whole nation. WOW! There came a point when his frustration caught up with him.
Sunday I had an amazing day at church. I taught Sunday school and shared one of the most memorable Sunday school experiences I can remember. It was memorable because of what the people taught me. The small group members shared insights and thoughts that blessed my heart. They shared thoughts that did not occur to me as I prepared to teach the lesson.
Have you been to a pity party lately? We enjoy them so much that we are tempted to plan them on a regular basis. The only problem is, we are usually the only guests and we feel worse for attending the party.
David attended a pity party from time to time. One occasion was recorded in Psalm 38. “My heart pants, my strength fails me; As for the light of my eyes, it also has gone from me. My loved ones and my friends stand aloof from my plague, And my relatives stand afar off. Those also who seek my life lay snares for me; Those who seek my hurt speak of destruction, And plan deception all the day long.” (Vs. 10-12 NKJV)
Yesterday I spent time thinking about the many issues faced by pastors. There is always something! A disgruntled family leaves for another church. Somebody is mad. There is a need for workers in the children’s ministry. A staff member makes a misstep. A toilet is hung up in the men’s restroom.