Monday, April 11, 2016

Leadership Relief

It’s been said that everything rises and falls on leadership. Leaders often say this when the organization is going well—seldom said when it’s struggling. I know that we have a tendency to make excuses for shortcomings or failures in leadership. We want to blame others, the economy, or the culture. Still others, however, feel a load of guilt, a sense of failure, when their organization is struggling. Such is often the case with pastors. I do not want to make excuses, but I do want to offer some relief.

I have been privileged to have pastored three growing churches. The one I currently pastor has experienced exponential growth. However, I have also experienced the deep despair and heartache of struggle in ministry. Recently, during one of my challenging times, God gave me three words of great encouragement that brought me relief.

1.  When no one follows, you still may be leading. I’ve often heard that a good test of leadership is if you look behind you and no one is following, then you must not be leading. The idea is that if you are a good leader, you will always communicate well, inspire confidence, and have a contagious vision. This will result in people following. But, during a recent fast, God reminded me that if Moses had made the popular decision at Mount Sinai, he would have led the Israelites back to Egypt. In John 6, the Bible says Jesus spoke with such confrontation that most of the people no longer followed.

As pastors, it is our job to pray, ask God for direction, and ask our people to follow. It seems difficult, in today’s culture, for many to submit to authority in any area (read my blog, “People in Protest!”). Although it saddens any pastor, there are some who will not take the next step of the journey with him. The relief comes in knowing it is our job to lead—but we cannot make others follow.

2.  I am all out of pixie dust. Many people in our church have great confidence in the staff. That is wonderful. However, sometimes that confidence can go too far. As leaders, we are often expected to fix problems that are sometimes not fixable. When we sense these expectations, we often feel like failures because we cannot fix all the problems. I remember several years ago, a small group of people came to me about an ineffective staff member. Others had previously approached me about this individual as well. Although I habitually defend my staff, I knew there were problems. I tried to help, encourage, and guide him over a span of several months. Then I had some “come to Jesus” meetings with him (ultimatums). Nothing worked. I finally had to relieve him of his struggle. The reaction by the very ones complaining was surprise and dismay. “We didn’t want you to fire him; we wanted you to fix him!”

Sometimes if people perceive you as a good leader, they believe you can sprinkle “pixie dust” or a magic potion over someone or something and fix it. However, some people and some situations cannot be fixed. We are pastors and leaders, not miracle workers. It is a relief to know none of us possesses “pixie dust.”

3.  Churches go through trials. Just as individuals go through trials and adversities, so do churches. God desires that every church become more holy, more dependent on Him, and always focused on Christ. Sometimes this takes adversity. Sometimes, as Christians, we go through trials and fail the test. With churches, however, 80% can pass the test and 20% fail and it will look and feel like failure. During times of testing, lay leaders must step up and calm the drama. They need to reassure the newer believers that God is doing a special work. No excuses—just a little relief.

What do you think?


  1. Church members are Super Hesitant to follow church leaders because many church leaders are part of the Clergy Response Team through FEMA, being used for Gun Confiscation during Martial Law. This is Super Evil because Christ told the disciples in Luke 22:36 to sell their clothes to buy a sword. Under Roman law at the time, it was Punishable by Death to own a sword. Christ told the disciples to Disobey Roman law and buy a sword to protect themselves.

    Also, many church preachers are Masons, with over 60% of Baptist Preachers being Masons.

    This is Strange to the church member because a Masons True god is Lucifer. It is confusing to realize that many church preachers are actually Masons and they give a brief message on Jesus Christ, how do we Trust what these Preachers are saying or Follow them anywhere.

    If a church preacher gave a Sincere message Focused on getting Saved and living for Jesus Christ, not caring about anything else, more people would follow him.

  2. As the church goes through trials, we will Pray with u, as God speaks to us, and folow ur leadership on our journey to be Christ like! Thank u for ur honest communication and continued service always.

    1. Thank you, Julie. I appreciate your support and prayers.

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