Monday, March 24, 2008

The Madness Of Ministry 4

One challenge that people sometimes don't realize when beginning ministry is that your life is now lived out in a fish bowl.

So you want to be the man in charge? Welcome to the show. Welcome to the scrutiny. Welcome to every detail of your life being put on display for everyone.

OH AND GUESS WHAT? The larger you get, the bigger the magnifying glass.

So how can you handle the madness that is the fishbowl syndrome:

Teach Your People That You're A Person Too
Now this doesn't guarentee that you won't be on display but I feel that the people you lead have to have a balance in realizing that just because you are a Pastor doesn't make you perfect. You are like many of them...only you have been called to a different position and office.

Set Boundaries
I'm not a big believer in separtation like other pastors may be. There is a line of thought that says keep your staff and people separted from you. I think to a high degree though that the people you lead, especially your staff, should be friends with you. Here is the catch though sometimes leading people who are friends can be difficult. It can come back to bite you if you don't have boundaries in place. Also realize that you need to spend uninteruppted time with your family.

Define Your Role
You can either be a big part of something small or a small part of something big. Everyone must be challenged to their place and as the pastor you cannot do and be everything. The sooner you turn things over the sooner all the focus comes off of you.

How have you been able to be sane in the spotlight?

Don't miss any part of this series:
Part 1 - The Intro
Part 2 - Time Management
Part 3 - Leading People
Part 4 - The Fishbowl Syndrome
Part 5 - The Pressure To Produce

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youthpastoradam said...

good stuff man! every chance i get i try to help people understand that i am a "real person who struggles just like they do". ministry really can be madness more times than i like to admit.

Scott said...

You are right on with this. So many pastors are on the edge of burnout because they don't teach their people the biblical job description of a pastor and bring their expectations down to a biblical norm.

1500 pastors leave the ministry every month for some of the reasons you've been describing (fishbowl, poor time management, etc.) Pastors really are self-employed in the sense that they need to be good self-managers in order to keep things balanced.

I appreciate what you're saying, too, for the fact that alot of pastors need someone to GIVE THEM PERMISSION to set boundaries! It really is okay!

Jesus said to the disciples, "Come aside and take rest for yourselves." There were still sick, demon-possessed and needy people waiting for ministry, but the Lord urged them to pull away from all that (we'll never get everything done!) and re-fuel.

When we don't, the important things suffer... like family and health. And we all know if those go bad, well, the church ultimately suffers too.

Scott N. Smith

Jonathan Ellis said...

Yes, we are SOOOO normal....probably more normal than most would like to know.

I would take an educated guess and say that most fall prey to the trap of pleasing people instead of God. I have been guilty of this.