Did you know that ministry can make you feel as if you are losing your mind?
Ok. Maybe it is not supposed to be that way but I do know many people who have experienced this. I certainly have at times. I am going to list four ways this happens and next week will give four more reasons.
How you can feel like you are losing your mind:
1. You can lead out of your anxiety (“Did anyone complain this morning?”) instead of your conviction (“How did God work in the life of the congregation this morning?”). Anxious leaders live in a constant state of reaction. For them, a good Sunday morning is when no one complains. Yet, is this the way God wants us to evaluate our assemblies? Somehow I can’t imagine Paul evaluating the church based on the reactions of people.
2. You can spend a lot of energy trying to convince people to agree with you. This is quite different than communicating clearly how you arrived at this conclusion yourself. It is one thing for me to tell people what I believe. It is quite another to give a 10-point plan. Far better to calmly take a position or stand and attempt to clearly explain how you arrived at this conclusion, acknowledging that good people may differ.
3. You can be overly focused on what others say or want and lose sight of where you are going. It is one thing to be aware of what people think and feel. It is good to invite input and collaboration. Yet, far too many leaders become frozen in indecision. Somehow we get stuck in the murkiness of the swamp. I learned this years ago as I heard a church leader say, “You know we will do whatever the people want to do.” I remember thinking, “This is why the conflict is so intense at this congregation.” Being stuck in indecision, it heightened the tension in the congregation.
4. You can talk repeatedly about what someone said or did that was wrong, creating a cloud of negativity over the group. Consequently, the group meetings have a very negative emphasis which cause you to feel as if you are losing your encouragement and energy.
(More next Thursday)
Which one of these have you experienced most often? What has been the impact on you?