I have yet to ever meet anyone who enjoys meetings. Well, anyone sane who enjoys meetings. Unfortunately, we've created a culture where meetings have become a necessary evil, and at the core of a lot of our disdain for meetings is that we've been to far too many meetings that were absolute time sinkholes.
A time sinkhole is where time disappears because it was wasted. Wasted time in meetings causes people to be frustrated, knocks out any momentum that could be generated, and fosters a general apathy towards meetings. Meetings can be times of generating ideas, creating action plans, and making sure leadership is all on the same page. But too often we create time sinkholes, here are 7 ways to avoid them in meetings.
1. Have an agenda - Meetings without a plan quickly disintegrate into gripe sessions or aimless wandering through rabbit holes. Agendas have a clear plan of action, specific talking points, and keep everything flowing for the meeting. Agendas keep meetings from chasing tangents because they clearly lay out the objectives, so that everyone stays on task.
2. Start (and end) on time - Meetings shouldn't just have a start time, they should have an end time. And unless there's lengthy strategy or brainstorming, meetings shouldn't take longer than 30-45 minutes if you're sticking to the agenda. The people who attend your meetings are giving up their time to attend, and they have lots of other things they're busy working on. Respect their time and steward it well. If the meeting begins at 2 and is slated to be over by 2:45, end at 2:45. If you don't cover everything, do a follow-up correspondence.
3. Don't talk about things that could be an email - All of us have sat in meetings where endless discussion happened on things that could have been quickly covered in an email. The only things that need to be talked about in a meeting are the things that require a meeting. Anything else, send it in an email before or after. That's the argument from Read This Before Our Next Meeting, where meetings have a specific purpose and function - to generate action.
4. Have an action plan - If at the end of the meeting you've got nothing you're doing as a result of the meeting, congrats... you wasted everyone's time. No meeting should ever end without clear action plans that flow from the discussion. An action plan includes a point person, a specific task, and a timeframe for completion.
5. Facilitate discussion well - If you're leading a meeting, you're setting the pace. Discussion is important, but as the leader you have the responsibility to steward and shepherd the discussion well. Make sure it stays on point, contributes to the discussion, and then when the dead horse has been beaten enough, you bring it to an end.
6. Expect punctuality - All of us have things that keep us from being on time. A few weeks ago I got snagged in another appointment and left a guy hanging for 30 minutes while I was trying to get away. But these should be the exception rather than the rule for us. If we're going to do meetings well, we should expect punctuality. Extenuating factors can certainly be considered, but someone just "not being able to make it on time" is unacceptable.
7. Keep the main thing the main thing - A meeting should have a single purpose, keep the focus on that. Always keep coming back to the main thing. If you're in a planning/strategy meeting for VBS, this isn't the time to discuss the Wednesday Potluck. If you're planning the worship service for Sunday, don't tack on discussion about facility usage. Drawing everything back to the purpose for the meeting ensures that you not only have the time needed to discuss, but also the attention of everyone there to make sure it's a fruitful meeting.
What have you done as a leader to avoid Time Sinkholes?
Earlier today I took our minivan through an automatic car wash, and got frustrated by how long it took. I caught myself saying "Unbelievable, why is it taking 10 minutes!" Like that's a really big deal.
I think too often in ministry we find ourselves taking the short view of things, rather than the long view. The short view is where we expect changes to happen overnight, for lasting culture to be changed in a week, for vision to be captured and implemented off one meeting. Or we look at the attendance one week to the next and determine "We're growing!" or "We're doomed!"
But pastoral ministry isn't a microwave, it's a CrockPot. It's something that develops and matures after years of faithful labor, prayers, sweat, and effort. It's something that happens long range, that's hard to measure on a micro scale. So how can we as pastors and ministry leaders take the long view?
1. Commit to a Long Tenure - The average tenure for a pastor is 3-5 years, for a youth minister 18 months, for other positions 2-3 years. The common denominator: no one sticks around long enough for the long view to take shape. We can't control what God may do in calling us to another ministry, but we can commit to ourselves that we'll endure through difficult times to see lasting fruit on the other side.
2. Don't Make Unfair Comparisons - It's easy for us to look week to week in attendance or giving numbers and make the jump to say things are growing or things are doomed. But rather than look week to week, look at month to month compared across years. Where we live in Florida, we have a unique demographic with the snowbirds. So I look at comparative attendance during our summer months (May-September), our first Snowbird Migration (October-December) and the second Migration (January-April).
3. Bad Sundays Will Happen, Roll With Them - Sometimes you'll have a day where your attendance is down, giving is down, key families weren't there, your message felt like a flub, and more. They happen. Roll with it. Don't beat yourself up. Don't write a resignation letter on Monday morning. You're going to have a bad Sunday. But they're not cause to give up. Instead, brush off and make the next Sunday better!
4. Avoid Apples & Oranges - Your church isn't your friend's church. Your church isn't like the church across town. Your church isn't the megachurch with the slide in the children's area. Your church is unique, and it's not fair to compare what you're able to do (or not able to do) with the other churches in your area. God's called you to be faithful, to shepherd and serve well, and to lead your church towards the vision God has for you. He's not called you to be <Insert Church Name Here>.
5. Don't Get Frustrated - You can lose weight by going on a crash starvation diet, or you can lose weight by gradually dropping pounds through calorie control and exercise. Guess which one is healthier for you. It's the same way in the church. You can get frustrated when things don't happen as quickly as you'd like, or the changes you feel are important to the vision aren't received immediately. But that's where the long view comes in. That's where the long view of leading with kindness, teaching and preaching faithfully, and strategically praying all come in to help gradually, over a lengthy tenure, see changes happen that make a church more fruitful and faithful.
Pastor, how have you taken the long view in your ministry?
I'm preaching through the Sermon on the Mount now, and this morning finished writing for an upcoming message through Matthew 6:1-18. Basically, the point of the message is that whatever we do for God we do for Him, not for the applause and visibility of others. There's a line that comes up several times in the passage, "they have received their reward."
The idea behind that is that those who do things so they get attention, so people will brag on them, so they can get good comments and accolades are getting exactly what they want, the praise of men. And Jesus uses a commercial transaction language (thanks Crossway exposition!) that basically says "they got the receipt."
That's all. They got the receipt.
On the other hand though, those who labor and serve and give without expecting others' approval will be rewarded by God.
It's a very common problem for us in ministry. An incredibly small percentage of pastors will ever get known, will ever be "Christian famous," or get the Blue Check by their Twitter handle. Almost all of us will labor outside the limelight. We won't be asked to speak at conferences, our books will never be on anyone's best seller list, and for decades we may labor faithfully and never see explosive growth in our churches or end up in the corner office of a suburban megachurch.
Can I give you a word of encouragement? One Person sees you, God.
God sees your faithfulness week in and week out to study, pray, write, and preach the text. To see not only your mind but your heart and your soul poured into ministering to the people God has called you to.
God sees your selfless sacrifice when you turn down a raise because the budget is tight.
God sees when you do things behind the scenes that will never be shown on a highlight video as you help clean the sanctuary or sit with a lonely widow in a nursing home or counsel the pregnant teenager.
God sees you as you work hard to serve your church, and then come home to serve and love your wife and kids. God sees when you're tired and you still read a story or throw the ball.
So hang in there pastor. The one who sees you is the one who will reward you. No matter if nobody else knows you're alive.
Over the weekend the internet exploded in outrage over remarks made by Paige Patterson, president of SWBTS, over counsel he gave to a woman who shared that she was in an abusive marriage. This is one of the times it's hard to argue that the words were "taken out of context" because there's direct quotes and even Patterson affirmed the words themselves in a statement/clarification.
Patterson is a giant in SBC life. If not for his work in the 1970s to stem the tide of theological liberalism, the Convention itself might very well be dead. His unquestioned convictions have made him a polarizing figure, whether it's about his position on Calvinism or on gender roles. Like a good Texan, he's stuck to his guns. I think the counsel he gave was, though well-intentioned, off point. But it's not the point of this to heap coals on Patterson or his comments.
The point is to respond to the second wave of firestorm on social media: the equation of complementarian views of gender to a culture of abuse or the condoning of abuse. In particular the idea of "submission" that says a wife should stay submissive and quiet even when she's being used as a punching bag. Pushed by noted egalitarians/Christian feminists such as Rachel Held Evans, the real bad guy in this is a system of oppression--a patriarchy perpetuated that silences victims and protects abusers.
Let's be clear first about one thing: under no circumstance, under no pretense, under no "faithfulness to Scripture" is it ever OK for a man to emotionally, verbally, spiritually, or physically abuse his wife. That's not complementarianism. That's evil. Submission is a gift from a wife to her husband that flows from his Christlike leadership and guidance in the home (Ephesians 5:22-33 puts much more emphasis on the husband). This is intentional, it shows that where authority/leadership is given, there is greater expectation to lead well, with Christ as the example. Christ who provides for His Bride, Christ who suffered for His Bride, Christ who lives for His Bride, Christ who died for His Bride. Husbands, if you expect submission in your home without being willing to in a moment take a bullet for your wife, you're not a complementarian. You're a jerk.
How then, do we respond? How do we serve as a complementarian pastor and lead when we're confronted with something like what Patterson presented?
1. Call it what it is, and call the cops - If you're giving counsel to a wife and she shares she's been hit or that she's being abused, don't call it a "personal matter" or don't try to fix things in house. A crime has been committed. You have not only a moral obligation but in some cases a legal obligation to report abuse. It could be a child, it could a senior adult in a care facility in their own excrement. At that point, it's not up to you anymore. The police need to be called and the legal protection afforded by God through the State needs to be applied.
2. Put them in contact with appropriate resources - In most states you'll have a dedicated group to help families in abuse/domestic violence situations. As a pastor, you need to make sure you know who to call or where to get help for a number of situations. One thing I've found useful is to keep a listing of community supports. In Florida, we have a listing of local centers through the FCADV. These trained professionals are experienced in dealing with issues of abuse/violence in ways that you as a pastor simply aren't. Don't be too proud to make a call or a referral.
3. Counsel the priority: safety for her and the children - Patterson is unquestioned in his commitment to never counsel a divorce. I know a lot of pastors with the same conviction, they hold so strongly to the permanence of marriage they can't go against that conviction. But even with that conviction, if you have that, you can still counsel and advocate for safety. Whether it's legal separation, counseling for a protective order or in extreme cases packing bags and getting them out, it's not unbiblical counsel or "destroying a marriage" to counsel for safety.
4. Pray, let the system work itself out, and then handle it in the church - Too often churches see themselves as the court system for believers based on a mishandling of 1 Corinthians 6. But the church's internal response comes after the legal response. If there's been a crime that leads to conviction, then it becomes an internal matter. Then it becomes an issue of church discipline (walking through Matthew 18 -- for the purpose ultimately of seeing the lost redeemed). But it's not something we handle apart from the responsibility of justice.
As pastors, we can have an incredible amount of influence on peoples' lives through the regular preaching/teaching ministry. If we teach/preach from a true complementarian perspective (that men and women are equal in value before God, but distinct in function) then we lay the theological groundwork for husbands to see their role in the home to make their wives like Christ, and for a wife to see their role in being a strong presence in the home.
In an evangelical subculture that sometimes perverts manhood into machismo, we must stand unashamedly on the truth that a man's power, physical strength, or "headship" in the home is never an excuse or reason for him to treat his wife as anything but a treasure and jewel. If we are to learn from any of this, we must be willing to acknowledge our blind spots and our need to develop systems, policies, and practices that allow for victims to be safe to disclose their abuse and know that it will be handled and treated seriously.
What do you do in your church to work with these sensitive issues?
One of the hardest decisions a family has to make is what avenue of education you want to pursue with your children. All of us recognize that our children are God's gift to us, that we are entrusted as stewards of not only their schedule but their soul, and that we want our best for them. In general, there are three avenues to consider taking:
1. Public School - The county/state funded school in your neighborhood or community. It could be what you're "zoned" for or you could have magnet schools.
2. Private School - Whether you choose to pursue a specifically Christian school or a private school without a specific denominational affiliation, you'll be responsible for footing the bill for tuition.
3. Homeschool - You as the parent are the primary teacher, though you may connect with other families or co-ops, you can use a dedicated curriculum or an individual assembly.
I realize this isn't nuanced. It's not supposed to be. This is something that every family has to determine for themselves, and even may be different based on each child's individual needs. But whatever course you decide to take, you need to think through some questions.
Is this something we're passionate about? - If you're not passionate about who and how your child is shaped and educated, you're not being a responsible parent. Whichever path you choose, it must be something you are passionate about. If you choose public school, be passionate about your child's mission impact on their friends. If homeschool, be passionate about individualized instruction.
Is this something we can afford? - Jesus had warnings for those who sought to build without counting the cost. So many times we do the same with our kids. We want the best for them and we may be passionate about (for example a private Christian school), but we've failed to do the hard work of seeing how our budget would need to adjust.
Is this something realistic? - A lot of Christian families are enamored with homeschool. They may be frustrated with a broken public model, they may have a desire to incorporate a biblical worldview, or they may want more time with their kids. But some families just simply can't. Both parents may have to work. It may not work with their schedule. It may be hard because they have a large family or don't have the space to dedicate to teaching.
Do we have support? - Regardless of what route you choose, it's important to make sure you have support. Even in public school, it can be exhausting with projects, homework, extracurricular activities, school plays, and more. You need support to help you with all those requirements, it can come from extended family, neighbors, or through church. Or if you homeschool, do you have outlets for PE or field trips? Trying to do it alone is a recipe for burnout.
Is this best for this child? - I don't know how your kids are, but my two are complete opposites. Each child is uniquely made in God's image, and comes with their own way of learning and perspective of what's best for them. Some families find their kids thrive in different settings. It's harder in terms of coordinating and transportation, but again that's where this comes back to each family considering what's best and wisest.
Is it something you've prayed through? - One of my favorite promises of God is the promise of wisdom, where we're able to navigate life and apply the Bible and the prompting of the Spirit to our daily activity. And we should never make such an important decision without giving it to a season of prayer (and fasting if needed).
How about you? How did you decide on your child's education? What did you choose? How's it worked?
I know this sounds crazy, but...
Several years ago, during a particularly difficult time in ministry, I was laying in bed when what felt like something oppressive came over me and I heard (not audibly, it was louder in my head) accusations from previous sin/mistakes with pronounced judgments. It was the scariest thing I've ever gone through, and I felt trapped. I couldn't speak, I couldn't lift my arms. I finally was able to say to Carrie "Wake up! Pray!" After Carrie prayed for a minute, whatever was going on stopped and I was able to catch my breath and tell her what had happened.
When we think about spiritual warfare, we think about moments like that. We think about times where we feel like we're being hit with arrows from the Enemy. We think about being falsely mistreated and enduring difficulty. We think about nightmares and horror movies. But I love how my friend Sam Rainer put it:
For most of us in leadership, we'll endure a time of spiritual warfare, in fact if we're honest and faithful in our pursuing of God's calling, chances are we'll endure a number of seasons of spiritual warfare. I read about the failure of Nazi Germany to invade Switzerland, with German commanders refusing to attack. The reason? The Swiss were trained marksmen, and as one German said "Snipers don't shoot privates."
But more often than not, our seasons of spiritual warfare are more in the realm of the ordinary. What can they look like?
Distractions - If you ever watch basketball, you'll see people do everything they can to distract whoever is at the free throw line. Arizona State even calls it the "curtain of distraction," and surprisingly it works! Distractions happen whenever we're knocked off our vision and mission. Spiritual Warfare Distractions are when trivial matters are turned into life-or-death and require immediate attention. When you're distracted and focused on these, you can't pursue the calling and build on the vision.
Apathy - When we experience apathy in ministry, it can be spiritual warfare. It can be the boring of the Enemy where God's people aren't captivated by the glory of Christ. Instead, life and ministry becomes a ho-hum, nothing-happening, daily repeating of the same old same old. There's no motivation. There's no vibrancy. There's no vitality. There's no life. It's just, meh.
Molehills - Sometimes we think about the big landmines in ministry to be issues of theology. We like to think of ourselves as Martin Luther nailing 95 Theses to the door and changing the world. I was in a meeting once where I had to defend what the Bible teaches about marriage, gender and sexuality. I had my hammer and nails and I was ready to start a Reformation. But most of the time, the landmines we experience in ministry are molehills. They're not that big a deal. Yet when you step on them, you don't think anything will happen, but it turns into a much bigger deal than you thought.
Drifting - Drift happens when there's no motor, no propulsion, no power. You're just moving along with the current. You're not moving to anywhere in particular, you're just moving. It's spiritual warfare because you're not accomplishing anything. You're not going anywhere. And in fact many times we drift away from mission towards danger (ever seen a movie where they're not drifting towards a waterfall?).
Busywork - When I was in school, I hated busy work. Even in middle school, we all knew there was absolutely no purpose to the silly worksheets we were doing. All it did was keep us busy for a half hour or so. There was no point, no learning objective, no reason. Just to stay busy. And far too often, spiritual warfare is busy work. It's mindless meetings, over-structured committees, feeling the pressure to be at 12 ice cream socials in a weekend, and grinding in the never-ending cycle of activity.
One of the things that has become apparent in the last couple years is the self-fulfilling bubble. In other words, we have built ourselves into tribes where we hang out and listen to people who are like us, who think like us, who look like us, who hold the same convictions, etc.
The benefit is affinity and familiarity. I spent last week with over 12,000 brothers who have the same convictions on theology, Christ, mission, and the church. It was really cool to see the fellowship formed. But if that's all we do, if that's only who we hang out with, if all we're doing is spending time in totally homogeneous circles, we're missing what God has done in designing His church.
I preached Sunday through 1 Corinthians 12:12-14, and one of the richest things I saw in that was the fact that God has woven a heavenly tapestry in the Church, and it doesn't always look like us. So as leaders in ministry, here are three questions for us to ask ourselves regularly:
1. When was the last time I spent time with someone older/younger than me? In the book Spiritual Leadership, J Oswald Sanders makes it clear we need a Timothy, a Barnabas, and a Paul. A Timothy is someone younger than us, someone we're investing in. A Paul is someone older who's investing in us. A Barnabas is someone in our situation, an encourager. God has designed the Church to be a multigenerational fellowship. Younger guys, those older saints in your church worked hard to provide for their family and build the congregation you serve. They may not like your music or agree on everything with you, but you can learn much from them. Older guys, don't let your last chapters be filled with regret or bitterness. Invest in the young men who will be leading the Church after you.
2. When was the last time I spent time with someone of a different race than me? The first step here is to recognize that our racial background has a way of not only informing our worldview but also how we're viewed by the world. The experiences of our African American, Hispanic, and other racial minorities are very different from ours. We can no longer live in mono worlds, and if we're going to lead well we must take the initiative to engage with others who aren't like us. I'm grateful for the leadership of Family Church in West Palm Beach Florida and how they've recognized the cultural and ethnic melting pot of South Florida and sought to intentionally minister.
3. When was the last time I spent time with someone who votes differently than me? In our cable news cycle world, we've forgotten the lost art of civility. It's discouraging to see the rhetoric on all sides, where anyone who doesn't agree is Hitler. In 2014 Pew Research found out that there was no ideological overlap in the Senate, which had historically been the deliberative body of compromise and mutual engagement. Unfortunately, in the Obama/Clinton/Trump climate we've seen for the last few years has caused us, on both sides, to dig in trenches. Our churches have people of good conscience on both sides of the political aisle, and if we read the Gospels we'll be quick to see that Jesus cannot fit our political spectrum and cannot be hijacked to fit our expectations.
Sitting at home after nearly a week away at the Together for the Gospel conference, I can't help but reflect on how full my soul is. And how tired my body is (remind me not to book a 5:30am flight, ever). So I'm thankful for coffee and its ability to help barrel through.
For many of us in ministry, conferences function as a way of continuing education and training. Even though we spend 3-4 years in intensive study in seminary, we realize that our learning is never finished. Just like doctors have to attend continuing education to maintain their credentials, we who care for souls must never forget to continue to grow.
We should consider attending conferences for a few reasons:
1. We need to be challenged - Many times when we go to a conference we're wanting to be stretched or pushed in our growth. We want to learn about a ministry or program. We want to hear from a speaker we listen to on podcast. Or we need to deal with something in our life and ministry that's hindering us.
2. We need to be refreshed - One of the perks of a conference is that they're usually held in a nice area. I've yet to see a pastor's conference advertised for Nome Alaska (although I'm sure the people of Nome are quite wonderful). They're in Orlando, Dallas, Louisville, Nashville, San Diego, etc. You can go to a new city, eat in different restaurants, sleep in a hotel bed, and connect with old and new friends over coffee. It's good for our souls.
3. We need to be read - My favorite part of T4G is the book giveaway. Free books is like Christmas morning for the YRR crowd (thanks Colin Hansen for investing in us!). And whether you get a suitcase full of books or a stack of papers presented or a keynote lecture, we need to be read. Leaders are readers. When we read, we're dealing with ideas, challenging our thinking, growing in our knowledge, and shaping our action.
4. We need to bring our best back home - Your church needs you to get away periodically for a conference. They need you to be at your best, to be hungry for growth, to be physically and spiritually renewed. They need you to bring back ideas and practices and paradigms, not so you can replicate whoever was speaking on stage, but so that your church can be more faithful.
Yesterday my assistant was telling me all about a message she had heard where the pastor used a phrase that stuck to her like glue - mechanical indifference. It's when we just go through the motions in our worship, in our devotions, in our church activity, and more. It's passive engagement. It's autopilot. It's walking dead.
And as leaders, it can happen to us. We can become so familiar with the routine of our lives and especially our Sundays that we can go on autopilot and move seamlessly through the motions.
Mechanical Indifference happens when we fail to refresh ourselves and come into our Sundays fueled up and ready to be there. Sure you're going to have rough mornings where nothing goes right (like this Sunday where I set up my Keurig to make coffee only to forget to brew it). But when mechanical indifference sets in all we're doing is performing rituals, not pointing people to life.
How can we avoid mechanical indifference?
1. Rest - You're not Superman. So don't try to be. Your body needs rest. Your mind needs rest. Your soul needs rest. Sunday worship is a Saturday decision. Get to bed earlier than you normally would. Stay hydrated. Try to rest before launching on Sunday.
2. Pray - Public ministry is only as strong as your private prayer life. Without that, you'll coast and go on adrenaline until eventually you crash. That's why in my book Start Well I dedicated a whole chapter to your own personal spiritual growth. It's that important because it's the fuel for your entire ministry and leadership.
3. Pause - Sometimes the best thing we can do on Sunday is take 5-10 minutes in the morning, pause and reflect on our day, and put off whatever baggage or stress or exhaustion we brought that morning.
4. Worship - I get it. When everyone else is singing, I'm often thinking about my message, trying to remember my introduction, taking glances at my notes, and more. And those messages stink. Because there hasn't been a time where I've sat back and engaged in worship. You need corporate worship as a pastor just as much as anyone else does. So sing, pray, and worship freely.
5. Crash - There are few things as deeply satisfying as the down time on a Sunday afternoon (especially during a thunderstorm) after a long fruitful morning of ministry. And whether I'm on the couch or "resting my eyes" in a recliner, that crash is as much food for my soul as breakfast was that morning. I can tell a difference in my Monday-Friday when I've had time to crash after Sunday.
When I was in high school our football coach wanted to deliver a powerful message, so he took out a hammer and hit a locker as hard as he could. It got our attention.
Sometimes in our preaching cycles we're going to come to a message where we have a point we want to deliver, deliver it hard, and leave a powerful impact. Yesterday I shared something that I knew would leave the room speechless, and the audible gasp from everyone there sucked the air out of the room. I wanted it to be hard, I wanted it to be a gut-wrenching feeling that lingered.
When you're preparing and you know you're going to drop a hammer, here's some points to consider:
1. Do it sparingly - The effect of the hammer is in its rarity. If you're constantly dropping hammers it's like a parent who always yells at their kid. The message is lost. It just becomes noise. So if every week you're dropping hammers, eventually you're going to run out of juice. If you want those moments to have the impact you want, be careful in how you use it.
2. Tell the truth - Whenever we have a powerful story to share or we want to relay an experience, tell the truth. It better have really happened. Unfortunately in the effort to deliver a point some pastors take the lazy approach and either exaggerate or fabricate a story for effect. There's a better word for that: lying. And shame on you if you take the easy road and deliver cheap points at the expense of your credibility.
3. Don't force the issue - When my kids were much younger they had the toy where you hammer shapes through the hole. And the frustration came when they'd try to hammer the wrong shape. Guys, you can't force the hammer drop. If you do, it'll lose whatever impact you want it to have. It has to be the right time, the right text, the right setting, and the right environment. So if you're wanting to drop a hammer about a lack of giving, don't do it right after your community has been rocked by layoffs at the large employer. In the same way, don't drop a hammer if it doesn't fit the text you're preaching from.
4. Avoid the martyr complex - The first time I ever tried doing this I wanted the church I was serving at as a youth pastor to know some things happening behind the scenes, in essence there were people engaging in sedition against the pastor and using me as a pawn in that. I still think I did the right thing, but I made myself into the martyr, and it was the wrong approach. When we make ourselves the martyr in our hammer drops, we're putting the bullseye on us. Instead, put the bullseye the problematic idea you want to address.
5. Buckle up - Whenever we lead prophetically and speak boldly into an issue that must be addressed, it's going to have fallout. The prophets in the Old Testament spoke boldly on behalf of God, but their message wasn't always received well. So if you're going to address issues of racism in the church or of apathy towards evangelism or towards embracing plural elders or whatever it might be... buckle up. Because leaders face no opposition and no pushback when they do nothing. But God hasn't called you to nothing. He's called you to lead.
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.