Providing leadership in the local church is sometimes stressful.
As a pastor, I deal with many positives and negatives every week. It’s part of the burden I’m called to bear.
None of us in church leadership are asking for sympathy. We understand it’s a privilege to serve God by being a part of people’s lives.
But don’t be deceived. It can be stressful if you’re on the inside loop of many communication circles. As a spiritual man or woman of God, you are tuned to discern what is not always easily seen.
Therefore, you are privy to the good, the bad, and the ugly facets of life.
What in the name of God’s call to ministry should we do with all this insider knowledge? How do you respond? And is a response always necessary?
In the infamous words of Bobby Brown, “It’s my prerogative.” But seriously, it is your leadership prerogative.
It’s your choice. That’s the reality that we live in. There’s no handbook with explicit instructions on handling all the messiness of people’s lives.
Yes, I know the Bible is full of instructions for Christ-followers. But situational ethics demands you learn the needed wisdom in advance. Or else, you could find yourself trying to justify an unwise action.
It’s your choice. That means you get to choose how to handle your attitude and response. It should go without saying (or typing) that you should choose wisely.
How would you want to be handled if you were the congregant or parishioner? It’s your choice. Filter the situation through Jesus’ golden rule and respond appropriately.
Meanwhile, I have two basic principles for your responses to the daily grind of leadership. Consider these helpful tips to tailor your responses.
1) Publicly promote the positives.
Celebrate with people. Make a big deal out of every little answer to prayer, and help people see how mighty and gracious our loving Father is in answering prayer. Be an example of the praise and thanks that belong to the Most High for His wonderful works to the children of men. And if you have their permission, share the positive responses with other small groups and celebrate the blessings of God.
2) Privately pray over the negatives.
So often, people will tell you about their problems and rarely let you in on the positives that need to be celebrated. And then there are the multitude of negative items you know by observation, listening, and spiritual discernment. Please keep these needs to yourself. You do not have God’s permission to share every need you know about.
There you have your two essential tips. They boil down to praise the positives and pray over the negatives. And in most cases, I suggest you keep the details to yourself unless you have permission to share them.
Pastors and other seasoned church leaders will know well where I’m coming from on this subject. We get tested weekly on the subject matter. And some of us have learned much from our past indiscretions. But at the counsel of my Advocate, I’ll take the fifth (amendment).