Just this past week I received (via email) an annual survey about my spiritual health as it pertains to being a pastor. The organization collecting this information is, Converge Worldwide (http://www.scene3.org/). And so I took a moment to complete this brief survey and thought - why don't I just open myself up to you all. What's there to hide, right? In doing so, you'll get a pretty good idea what makes me tick and sick. Let me just give you the first two questions out of the eight that I completed.
1. What are your biggest challenges in leading?
Feelings of inadequacy. I wonder sometimes if I'm the right messenger to move the crowd forward. I see so many other leaders doing such a great job with a host of volunteers. From time to time I will struggle like Moses did, questioning God's playbook.
Personal growth. I once read that a leader will never take his or her followers higher than where he or she is at in their own spiritual climb. How true this is. I struggle each week to grow on a personal level. I've learned to be very intentional about this. This past year I have done so much better in this area - and I can truly feel the difference. Today, I always have a book going, always reading - something to keep my mind sharp on leadership and personal growth.
Keeping my family first. What does it profit the whole church if I lose my family? Nothing. This can be difficult lesson to learn when everyone from church wants your time and you start feeling important. I've learned to build some valuable margins into my life. The benefits of this are amazing. In fact, much of this past year has been rededicating myself to this Biblical mission of protecting our family.
2. What are a few things that really annoy you in ministry?
Lack of commitment. I cannot lie. When I see Christians (Christ followers) not attending church (sleeping in), not volunteering, in and out, tossed by waves of indecision, it drives me bonkers. I once read that the greatest gift you can give those who attend church is your own presence. Why? It encourages people. But unfortunately some Christians are pretty selfish and don't really see how their absence is actually hurting someone's walk with Christ. Anywhoo...it really pushes my "annoyance button."
Plastic people. I crave authenticity. So many people are hiding, not being truthful about their circumstances, pretending like nothing is wrong. I see people who settle for good in their marriage when they can have great! I know Christians who duck and hide from being in a small group because they know that eventually they must get real. And yet, I've seen the amazing power of God through a person's brokeness.
Christians who conceal their talents. I believe our church, like most churches, have exceptional talent. We have so many men and women who have been given extraordinary gifts by God - so it, of course, drives me nuts when they are not put into use. I hear a number of Christians say something like, "Well, I'm not sure if I want to be a part of this right now, but maybe later." And yet, when they do use their gifts, I see it bless the socks off people. It makes me think, "Why do we not see them knocking down our doors to share their talents?" Much of what the church needs to be about is helping or assisting people in finding their talents and helping each person activate them.