Monday Morning Insights

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    Andy Stanley on The Courageous Pastor

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    The people hire the leader and say, "We'll follow you unless we don't like the way you're leading us, then we'll get us another leader." What other organization can the clients and the customers hire and fire the leader? So the church is set up upside-down. It's an environment that is not conducive to leadership in some ways. Consequently to lead a church you just have to have a lot of courage because the group to which you're saying "follow me" can get together after you leave and fire you. Well, that's just the way it is. That's not going to change but it requires a lot of courage ? otherwise we start bending toward the people that hired us and we're in trouble.

    The irony is we stand up and talk about Daniel in the lion's den but then we won't even confront elders. All of these bible heroes ? David and Goliath ? and we love to preach those sermons and draw these parallels and then we're scared to confront people. I think that dynamic alone is a big part of why the church is where it is. The leadership ? or lack of leadership ? is just so much fear of people. I don't know where that comes from...

    When I see pastors who are scared I want to tell them, 'Just lead.' If they fire you and you don't think God will take care of you, then you have no message for your people anyway, because we get up every Sunday and say God's grace is sufficient. He's going to take care of you, He'll meet your every need and you'll never see the "righteous go hungry." It's what we preach, but if our lack of faith in those practical things causes us to not to be able to lead then what's our message anyway?"

    Wow... that gives you something substancial to think about on a Monday morning, doesn't it? I know many who read this are going through great times of conflict during your present ministry. Some probably had a day yesterday where things just blew up (literally). Don't let your 'worry about tommorrow' determine how you react to today's situations. There are also many that are reading this that are flying high in ministry right now. Stay strong. Stay courageous. And love your people.

    What do you think? Do you agree with Andy? How have you shown courage in your leadership recently? Or, maybe you can give us an example of a time or two when you were scared and weren't very courageous. I'd love to hear your comments.

    Serving on a church staff is not for the faint-hearted. It takes courage and strength to lead in the church. Andy Stanley spoke about pastors and courage in a recent edition of Preaching Magazine. Here’s what Andy wrote:  "Speaking from my limited view, I feel like so much of the problem with pastors is they are just scared to death. They’re scared of their people, they’re scared of deacons, they’re scared, they’re scared, they’re scared. You know, if you’re scared of someone you can’t lead them; you can hardly even influence them. Here’s the pastor who’s been hired ? I tell our business guys all the time, "You’d never go to work for an organization where the customers can hire and fire the president of the company they bought products from." But that’s the church world. 




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    1. Cindy Brown on Mon, November 08, 2004

      What more can be said than “Amen”?!

    2. Art on Mon, November 08, 2004

      “Wow… that gives you something substancial to think about on a Monday morning, doesn’t it? I know many who read this are going through great times of conflict during your present ministry. Some probably had a day yesterday where things just blew up (literally.”

      That is exactly what happened.  Yesterday was without a doubt the worst day I have ever had in my eight years of ministry.  One deacon left me a note on my desk telling me he was resigning, leaving the church, and that I wasn’t fit to be a pastor.  I hear through the grapevine another is thinking the same way.  All this occured BECAUSE I took a courageous stand.  I guess if you try to take a hill you better be ready to die on it, huh?

    3. eddie on Mon, November 08, 2004

      God wants to take me by the hand and lead me right into the very presence of my fears - going “face to face” with my worst disasters.   Faith is what makes this kind of confrontation possible, and it is only through confrontation that I obtain resolution to my fear.  The best part of this is that I can’t lose when I trust God.  “God did not give us the spirit of fear”

    4. Stuart Bond on Mon, November 08, 2004

      Is fear more endemic to pastors than the business world?  I see business people who are scared all the time.  And probably for the same reasons: they want to keep their job.  Nevertheless, Jesus told us it is no way to live.  “Fear not, for I have overcome the world.” was his cheery counsel right after he makes a most chilling prediction of what it will be like.  “They will drag you before synagogues…”  Two thousand years ago, they worried about the same thing.

    5. Terry Ayers on Mon, November 08, 2004

      I agree whole-heartedly. As a pastor you MUST display courage and leadership even when it means going up against deacons, elders, etc. Just this past Sunday I had to instruct my AV guy to inform ALL church members and I mean elders and deacons included that when the worship leader sets a sound level it is set for the entire service unless I personally give instructions otherwise! Afterall, I am a professional and I know what it takes to help lead people sincerely and deeply into worship! I would NEVER think of going to a church members workplace and try to dictate to them how to do their job! Quite frankly, it is very disrespectful of anyone to question the judgement of their pastors when it comes to conducting their services. If they have a concern then they need to show their respect and set up a time to meet with the pastor to discuss their problem. They should NEVER disrupt the flow of a worship service! Remember that GOD called you into this profession and GOD watches over His servants. Stand firm and trust that the Lord will handle matters.

    6. Tisha on Mon, November 08, 2004

      I love Andy and agree with him most of the time, but having come from a corporate environment, and before that a university setting, I have to disagree that only in the pastorate can the leader be fired by his clients and customers…in fact, that is EXACTLY what happens.  When a leader in the corpoarte world fails to lead, the business does not perform…and he is “outta there”...the exit facilitated by the board of directors…even the small business OWNER is effectively “fired” when his business is not successful…and usually, his home and life savings are lost right along with the business.

      Long term leadership requires the development of trust and moral authority AND being sure that the direction comes from God,  not from ambition or even good intentions.  But, I do agree with Andy on this…once a leader has heard from God, he or she cannot live in fear of controversy or of losing their job (even though that may be the price).  When God points the way…a real leader will be the first to step out of the boat.

    7. Bernie Dehler on Mon, November 08, 2004

      I agree with Stuart.  The business would IS the same way.  The author is wrong.  Both worlds need strong leadership. 

      The author says:

      “Here’s the pastor who’s been hired — I tell our business guys all the time, “You’d never go to work for an organization where the customers can hire and fire the president of the company they bought products from.” But that’s the church world.”

      In the business world, if the customers don’t like your product, they will fire you by using another’s product.  It’s even MORE cut-throat.  Most Church members have a loyalty far stronger than consumers, I believe.  Too many Pastors take advantage of this and get sloppy.

      The article has a great point—it’s all about leadership.  But I think it’s really wrong and naive to think that Pastor’s have it rougher.




    8. Bernie Dehler on Mon, November 08, 2004

      Christians also need to overcome fear to hold Pastors accountable.  By and large we don’t, so we get excesses, like Benny Hinn (est. salary rake-in of $500K to $1 million, can’t know for sure, since he has a “church” and doesn’t have to report for tax reasons, another abuse). 

      There’s also Evangelicals who are out of line, like Charles Stanley ($300K) and Billy Graham ($400K).  Just because they’re Evangelicals doesn’t mean they should get a pass, or because we are too timid to confront them.



    9. Rob Pochek on Mon, November 08, 2004

      I think Andy is right on…I believe his point is that I cannot walk into WalMart and fire the Chief Executive simply by virtue of the fact that I am his customer an am unhappy. Nor can I enter the local Subway (small business) and fire the owner - not that I would - he is a great owner and a personal friend! It is true that if I do not do business with their companies, eventually an impact will be made and they may “lose their job.”

      In the church, however, a member can IMMEDIATELY impact a pastor’s life. When I faced the prospect of continuing to serve in a church that only wanted me to do “maintenance” and cease trying to reach new people, I confronted it. But, in that church, like most in my denomination, the majority rules - so my family and I were “out.” I did not have another church lined up, and, because we lived in the parsonage, had no place to live. But, God is faithful. We found an apartment and started a new work with a handful of folks who believed in the vision God placed on our hearts. That was four years ago - and God is still faithful.

      There is tremendous freedom in leading courageously. That doesn’t mean we never face doubts or insecurities or, even, fear. But, it does mean that we trust in the One who is greater than our fear, than our “opposition”, greater than ourselves.


    10. Kenneth Chrisman on Mon, November 08, 2004

      My prayer for you : Father the disciples are in the storm and the boat is tossing and we tend to forget and loose faith and hope take us through the storm set us on the other side and after we are sifted may we have the courage to encourage and help your family all the more. Father I do pray you would strengthen these brothers and sisters in Christ. That they could have a deeper appreciation for the Son and what he has done. I believe Father just as you say judgement starts at your house first. I also know Sir if we as your ministers are not prepared to lead then your sheep may not have encouragement when they go through the valley too! Please prepare us as you see fit and may our hearts be united together with yours . Thank You Sir Thank You for loving us and sending your Son to rescue us and delivering us from the enemy and forgiving our unbelief(sin) In Jesus name. Love Ken C.

      Remember: there are silent reminders—- When we see the Sunrise We are reminded that Jesus the SON ROSE and when the Sun is not seen because of storm clouds remember The Sun / SON Jesus is over every storm / adversity.   God is in control because the sun rises every day at its prescribed time. If the enemy was in control the sun would rise at midnight or not at all.  

      There is a storm comin’ storm comin’storm comin’ but we who are believers will draw near and call upon our God ,our Rock, For I called upon Him and He delivered me from all my fears. I know this is so. With anxiety wanting to well up in me I focus more on the Lord and He makes the storm calm.  I am unemployed as I write yet God has provided books and study material to prepare me. He has sustained me in this time. Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times and

      a (brother is born for adversity)


      If not for an adverse brother how would we see the need to learn love and forgiveness. God allows us stronger and stronger trials so that we would mature. See Psalm 127:1 and James 1:2-5.So we ask God for wisdom and help Teach me O Lord I want to grow! May God bless each one of you and may HE make HIS FACE to shine on yours in Jesus name. Love Ken C


    11. John Boyce on Mon, November 08, 2004

      Wow what a timely word.  I just went through all that this past summer.  When I suggested the changes we needed to make the old regime got angry, left and took thier parents, aunts and uncles with them.  They were my friends, but God is my God and I had to follow His leadership.  Thee months later (now) God has raised up every postion of need that was vacated.  The church is experiencing a new found freedom in worship, preaching and fellowship.

      It was a hard thing to go through, but God saw me through. Praise Him!!

      Pastor John


    12. Steve Wright on Mon, November 08, 2004

      I have to say that courage is something grown through adversity as much as something that comes intately or something we choose. There was a point in my life as a young minister that doing what others expected was more important than anything else. My motive in meeting the expectations of others came from the unknown, unconscious need I had to be liked. In my experience that is a very common ailment of ministers. It wasn’t until I began to experience some harrowing tragedy in my life that my perspective began to change. As I looked inside God began to have me ask a lot of “why” questions regarding my motives. In the end, He helped me see (with the aid of a friend) some very real and deeply disturbing realities about my personality. However, once I was able to honestly admit my own shortcomings, owning them and accepting them, the need to please left. It made me a better leader, almost fearless, yet still compassionate. We are on a journey, aren’t we? Thank God He helps us see inside when we truly desire it.

    13. Mike on Mon, November 08, 2004

      I agree with Andy!  As a staff member, it is difficult to work in a church where the pastor is afraid to lead.  I have had the experience in former churches where the pastor used the staff to make hard decisions so they would be blamed and not themselves.  It is a shame for a minister, whether senior pastor or staff member to neglect his God given responsibility by being afraid to exercise his authority because he is afraid of the people.  Could you image Jesus being afraid of the disciples?  Could you imagine a shepherd being afraid of his sheep?  Why are we afraid of our people?

    14. Ray Silvers on Mon, November 08, 2004

      As a Minister of Music, I was called to my position.  If God needs me somewhere else, He will call and I will go.  I have no fear because I know that He will lead if I will follow.



    15. phill on Mon, November 08, 2004

      I learned conflict management as an associate pastor watching the congregation destroy the church and fire or chase off nine pastors.

      But the senior pastor stayed his ground and attacked every area of sin. He did eventually lose his position as the senior pastor, but I believe he did the right thing. Call the controllers and their ways of attack what it is…sin. And address it as such.

      If you choose to lead a church then lead the church.


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