Insecurity: Pastors, Church Leaders, and Churches
One of the major challenges that prevent many churches from being focused on their mission can be summarized in one word: insecurity. It eliminates opportunities for evangelism, planting churches, ministry expansion, and making disciples because it creates conflict in the church. I have even seen insecurity ruin ministries.
A testimony: I will never forget talking with a leader who served with his Pastor for decades in one of the strongest ministries in America. I asked him about the challenges of adjusting from leading church staff leaders from people in the world. He remarked, “I have found that ministers are the most insecure people I have ever met in my life.”
Since insecurity can hurt ministers, churches, and ministries, we need to consider ways to overcome this problem. Here are some helpful tips for identifying the signs of and solutions to insecurity.
Signs of Insecurity
- Competitiveness - One of the biggest problems insecurity carries with it is overt competition. Churches try to “out-do” one another. Pastors find themselves competing with other pastors. This competitiveness occurs because of insecurity and further results in jealousy and a critical spirit.
- Solution: Remember that as a Christ-follower your only competition is the world, the flesh, and the devil, not other pastors or churches. Remember who you are in Christ and abide in this spiritual reality.
- Combativeness - I have seen many pastors and church leaders ruin their ministry by the incessant need to have their way. God has not called ministers to always be right, but to be godly. In my book Ten Things Every Minister Needs to Know, I talk about this issue in detail. I am convinced we can do the right thing in the wrong way. We need to operate with the Spirit of Christ at all times.
- Solution: Recognize that not every hill is worth dying on. Sometimes the best, most Christ-like way is to humble yourself and see that the best idea is not always your own. Listen to others. Learn from others. Learn from your own mistakes. Do not let a word, a sentence, or attitude take away from your main message. Your goal is always to be like Christ, not always be right in the eyes of others or even in your own eyes.
- Complaining - Some of the whiniest people I know are ministers. It also happens that pastors are some of the most insecure people I know. The two often go together. Complaining is a serious obstacle for many ministers of the Gospel. How can we expect others to be attracted to our message and our leadership if we are complainers? This does not magnetize people to the message but it distracts them from the message.
- Solution: Return to the reason you are in ministry. Church leadership roles are often very hard. When all the bad stuff starts coming your way, instead of complaining about it, keep your heart in the Word of God and keep your eyes on Jesus and the lostness of the world. Most of all, return to your call from God to go into the ministry… this is why you are doing what you are doing.
What We Do Not Have Time For
We don’t have time to play games and be insecure. We are not competing against the pastor across town. We are not competing against a church across America. While every church is called to make disciples of all the nations, we have to carry out this commission in the different contexts God has called us to serve. We are not entitled to getting everything our way because we’re in a church leadership role.
Insecure Pastors and Churches
Insecure pastors create insecure churches. Insecure churches are ineffective churches. Competitiveness, combativeness, and complaining do not have a place in the church of Jesus Christ, especially in the life of a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. So let’s set aside the competiveness, combativeness, and complaining and focus on taking the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world and making disciples of all nations.
Why There is No Need to Be Insecure
Our Lord’s command to go and make disciples is prefaced by the statement, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me,” and is followed by, “I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18, 20). Because we live in and with the authority of the Great Commission, there is no need for insecurity. There is no need to be insecure… the Lord is with you always!
Daily, I pray for the authority of the Great Commission to operate within and through my life as a leader. Knowing that the One who has all authority is with us, we can face anything in life and ministry.
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