Ministry Inside.87

puzzled“One of the biggest problems with pastors is their lack of self-awareness and inadequate relational abilities.”

This quote caught my attention.

I was reading a transcript of a presentation given by Dr. Rod Wilson, president of Regent College. The presentation was entitled “Why Emotional Intelligence Is Missing in So Many Churches and Christian Institutions.” In the message Wilson quotes a pastor who is on his denomination’s ordination board. Wilson says that if a person is intellectually bright, we often conclude that such intelligence will lead to a certain kind of behavior.

Of course, “We all know that intelligence, in the traditional sense of the word, is no guarantee of emotional strength and appropriate behavior.” Churches and ministers have seen this again and again. A person may be highly intelligent but particularly inept in relating to people.

Good leaders need what Daniel Goleman refers to as “emotional intelligence.” Consider the two categories often used to describe emotional intelligence.

Personal competence – This involves self-awareness and self-managment. Do I have a sense of who I am? Do I have an awareness of my wounds or vulnerabilities? Am I aware when I am lonely or angry? Do I have a sense for my patterns of behavior when I am tempted to make poor, unethical or immoral decisions?

Social competence – This involves an awareness of what is happening in relationships. It is social awareness. Do I have a sense for how I am coming across to people in a one-on-one setting or in a group meeting? Do I tend to say what is appropriate? Am I often surprised by how others perceive me in conversations?

Far too many ministers pay little attention to their emotional intelligence.


*A minister is told by an elder group one day that they are bothered by his anger. He is shocked. He genuinely does not perceive himself as an angry person.

*A church leader is seen as abrasive and abrupt with others. Yet when he prays publicly, he will refer to the need for the church to practice gentleness and kindness with people. He doesn’t seem to see what others see.

*A longtime church member is perceived to be very caring and a good listener. Yet, again and again she is manipulative with what information she has.

Three suggestions:

1. Decide to address any emotional issues in your life. Far too many church leaders repeat the same destructive patterns in congregation after congregation.

2. Spend time reflecting on your life and any undesirable behavior that seems to keep repeating itself. For example if you have a pattern in your life that involves lying, pornography, anger, manipulation, etc., think back to specific times, place, people when this has surfaced. Can you put this on a timeline? For example, note the first time someone said to you that your anger was an issue.

3. Consider investing in a good counselor. No, not everyone who struggles with a negative pattern needs to see a counselor. However, a good counselor can be very helpful coming alongside a person at critical times. I have seen a counselor at various times in my life and have grown as a result.

I would love to hear your feedback regarding this.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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3 thoughts on “Ministry Inside.87

  1. I have really enjoyed Scazzero’s little devo book, The Daily Office. it focuses on Spiritual development through self-reflection. I haven’t read Emotionally Healthy Spirituality yet by the same guy, but it looks interesting.