If you haven’t read Part 1…well you should. It’s not bad and it hits on the reasons why Long Term Leadership is rare in the church today. So go read it. I’ll wait…
OK, now let’s settle in and look at these three issues- conflict, boredom, and money. Why do these three areas send so many church leaders packing?
Let’s talk about MONEY first. It’s the easiest to speak on because there is some excellent Scripture that hits those who leave just for the Dollar. Jesus tells His disciples in Matthew 6:24 and in Luke 16:13 (same story told in 2 different Gospels) that they cannot serve 2 masters and they will have to choose between the love of money and the love of God. Jesus sues three words here with strong meaning- unconditional love, holding back, and enslaved. Jesus says we have to unconditionally love, hold back for, and be enslaved by EITHER God or money.
What does that mean for longevity? It means that church work is NOT a corporate ladder. You are not working at one place with an eye toward getting a promotion to the NEXT BIG THING. So if you are only looking to leave a church because someone offered you more money, you better check your motives. (BTW this is not a license for churches to underpay and financially abuse ministers. The Bible has some strong words about that as well. Will touch on these in a future post.)
Now what about conflict? When we don’t know how to fight we are setting ourselves up for failure. When I do pre-marital counseling with a couple, we spend one entire session on fighting, because conflict between people is inevitable. There are no perfect churches and disagreements are inevitable, so how do we disagree in a way that honors God? I am not an expert, but here’s a few tips that will keep you from leaving every time someone challenges you:
1. Instead of immediately assuming your accuser is wrong, stop and listen. Is this an issue of fear or confusion or rebellion? If it’s fear or confusion, you can easily and gently talk an accuser off the ledge by sitting down with them, letting them air their issues, and helping them to understand why you are making the decision/change you are making.
2. If the issue is outright rebellion, then take heed to the scriptures. Is the person older than you are? 1 Timothy 5:1 tells us to rebuke an older man gently- like we are having a disagreement with our dad. Use scripture to explain your position. Listen and reply. Take your stand on the Word.
3. Be willing to stay amidst the conflict. Teach and preach and pray through it. Staying will earn you respect and a hearing. Further, the longer you stay…wait that’s the next post…have to come back for that one.
Finally, leaving because you are bored? Seriously?!? There is NO reason to be bored in ministry. There are people to be loved. There are families being destroyed by sin. There is a community that needs to be transformed. Want to fight boredom? GET OUT OF THE OFFICE! Work in a coffee shop or restaurant once or twice a week. Take one day a week and volunteer at a charity in your community. redefine what ministry looks like. Engagement is the antidote for boredom in ministry. If you move, the boredom will come at the new place sooner or later. Better to transform where you are.
Part 3 will be rolling out in a few days. Anyone have anything to add on this post? Comment away….
Quick creative tip I picked up at Catalyst Dallas this weekend…Check this guy out…Propaganda @ Humble Beast