Two Reasons That Some Leaders Now Face
“The Great Exodus”
As leaders think about what has happened over the past two years, I would suggest that there were factors that resisted making the changes needed and that addressed the new problems that ministries and local churches were then facing.
#1) Experiential Self-confidence: There was a lack of OPENNESS to change because of past “success.” Most leaders and pastors become increasingly confident when time and experience have proven them successful. Why should it be any different now? “Been here! Done it!”
Past navigational success can disregard the different features that a storm carries with it. I might suggest that “pastoral meteorologists” are not as effective in forecasting as they might like to believe.
Even if one has been able to successfully forecast & navigate many other storms, we all realize that the “2020 Storm” was totally different from every other storm any pastor has experienced! This storm was unique, and many pastors have woefully failed at addressing the demands it brought with it.
Those failures could have been mitigated with “openness” — an openness to hear why this storm is different, an openness to new ideas, and an openness to correcting course as the storm changed its course and intensity.
The second reason contributed to that false confidence.
. . . .
#2) Anticipated Energy Demands: When a storm is approaching, the energy companies prepare for the coming emergency. Keeping the grid up and working is critical to dealing with a storm, as well as its aftermath.
Some ministry leaders and pastors thought about the work that it would take to address the demands that came with this storm, and excused and/or refused to go down that road. The work it would take to keep things going through the storm overruled the actions and creative thought necessary.
Some already believed that they are overworked and that God’s people do not understand how difficult it is to be in ministry (Sadly, they are misled and ill-informed!).
The result……stay the course, and . . . .
* delegate the work to others, less qualified and/or effective
* project an unrealistic aftermath
* accept dealing with the aftermath
* expect God’s people to understand and/or accept the excuses
* include calls for sympathy during the sermon
Thoughts of having to work harder, longer, or the demand of new different efforts were too often dismissed — “We will see how it all falls out after the storm and try to get back to normality when it all passes!”
. . . .
Two biblical words capture the essence of these two suspected causes…..
. . . . .
Don’t think for a moment
that ministry leaders and pastors
are exempt from those two words . . .
. . . .
1. I say”today” because I see a new mindset guiding ministry decisions — selfishness. There are some obvious “self-serving decisions being made by ministry leaders. It is not about what is best for the ministry, but what is most desired and wanted by the ministry leaders. I say “obvious” because while they are not obvious or seen by the self-serving, they are seen for what they are by those in the pews.
For example . . . . There was a time [and with many older ministry leaders there still is] when religious holidays were important days in the life of the church. Christmas, Easter, Mother’s- Father’s Day (which were by design always on a Sunday), and Thanksgiving were important days. These were days during which there were unique opportunities to minister, especially to those who were on the periphery or outside of regular church life. The ministry leaders and pastors were “accounted for and present” on those special days! *
Not today in many a church. Today it is not about sacrificially serving others or what is best for the church and ministry. Rather, it is about serving self! “Sacrificial Love” are just words for the pulpit or a ministry slogan!
Some need not complain about the lack of commitment by the sheep,
when the shepherd taught them well!
. . . .
*Note: At a point in ministry, our church instituted three extra “3-day weekend vacation times” beyond the allotted pastoral vacation weeks of compensation. It was rightfully assumed and expected that the pastors would be present during the various actual holiday days. That provision was designed to allow the pastors the delayed freedom to spend extended time with their families since they were typically present, preaching, and ministering during those special religious days.
In fact — some of their pastoral ministry during those special days even included having others over to their home and into their life — sacrificially loving others.
In fact — Many a Thanksgiving day began with serving a Thanksgiving meal to the homeless, with the work of the pastors and a great host of the church members-friends who also delayed their Thanksgiving meal to make that happen!
But that is now “old school” — making decisions in the best interest of God’s church and exemplifying sacrificially loving others to God’s people!