Church leadership is difficult (in case you hadn’t already figured that out).
Some days it is easy to feel discouraged, to wonder why you work as hard as you do. Especially when you don’t receive the thanks you deserve. Especially when you don’t see the results you want. Especially when it’s been a long week or weekend—you’ve preached multiple services and tended to the needs of others, and even after all of that, you look around the room and wonder if it was enough.
Maybe you worry there are people you aren’t reaching, or maybe you see people hurting and don’t have the answers.
You feel the weight of it.
You wonder: "Is there something more I should be doing?"
To make matters worse, your Twitter feed is full of other church leaders and pastors from other places celebrating their victories. Their attendance is up, offering is up, such-and-such number of people have been saved or baptized.
You want to be happy for them, but you’re exhausted.
It’s so easy to feel like, despite all your work, you’re falling behind.
You’re not alone. You aren’t the only pastor who feels like this. Here are a three of ways you can re-route those thoughts.
1. Identify when envy arises. The first step is to identify when envy or jealousy arises in our hearts. The quicker we identify the true reasons for our thoughts, the quicker we can change them if they’re insincere or misplaced.
2. Encourage other pastors privately. This is an easy opportunity we miss out on all the time. Picture this: Your church has its highest attendance in history. The next day, you receive a DM (that’s “direct message” for you non-Twitterers) from another pastor in the community congratulating you on the day. How encouraging would that be? One of the easiest ways to combat that spirit of envy is to genuinely celebrate the successes of others. We all share the same goal, don’t we?
3. Praise them publicly. The final step is to take it public. As encouraging as a private word of encouragement can be, public recognition can increase it exponentially. Celebrating publicly with your church leadership team will help you build that relationship as well as set an example for others who might have the tendency to react negatively.
The work you’re doing is God’s work. You’re listening to Him, following His leading, giving in every way you can.
Don’t minimize what you are doing.
No matter how discouraged you feel, you must celebrate what God is doing in your church. You can do this with your church staff or just with your spouse. Tell the stories of the remarkable things that are happening in your community.
You are changing the whole world of the people around you.
Although you might be tempted to criticize other churches, remind yourself they are led by pastors just like you who also feel discouraged and question how they got here, what they’re doing, and if it’s enough.
Celebrate their victories as victories for the kingdom. Remember this is not a competition; it’s a story we are all, as church leaders, writing together. Their victories are your victories, and yours are theirs.
Finally, you may have to change your metrics for measuring success in your community. It’s easy to get caught up in numbers of people baptized or the number of people who showed up on Sunday morning. We can get lost in the offering count or the salvation count. But if we did, we would forget that there is no measure for lives being changed.
Stories are being written all around you. You are intersecting with these stories, and God is in each one of them.
What about you? Do you feel ever feel discouraged or wonder if you’re doing enough? How do you cope?
With over a dozen years of local church ministry Justin Lathrop has spent the last several years starting businesses and ministries that partner with pastors and churches to advance the kmingdom. He is the founder of Helpstaff.me (now Vanderbloemen Search), Oaks School of Leadership, and MinistryCoach.tv, all while staying involved in the local church. Justin serves as a consultant in the area of strategic relations predominantly working with the Assemblies of God, helping to build bridges with people and ministries to more effectively reach more people. His blog can be found at justinlathrop.com.
For the original article, visit justinlathrop.com.