Dealing with the pressures of church leadership

Pressure build-upAlly Moody of Gainsville, Texas contacted me by e-mail asking how I deal with the pressures of church leadership. Here’s what works for me:

  1. Spending time in the Word and in prayer. I don’t see how people can make it in ministry by only depending on their own strength, their own “wisdom,” and their own vision. Christ must be our focus.
  2. Earn the trust and respect of the congregation. If you’ve invested into building trust through all the little things, when the big issues come up they don’t tend to explode as easily.
  3. Develop relationships with church leadership. Know the team in which God has placed you and learn to work together in all areas of ministry, not just in your individual areas of responsibility. When pressure comes, it’s a lot easier when their support and understanding is already in place.
  4. Learn to say “no.” Setting boundaries is vital not only for maintaining a healthy personal life, but for maintaining a positive view of ministry. It’s easy to work and work and feel so overwhelmed and stressed by it all because there’s always more to do.
  5. Maintain an accurate perspective of ministry. God doesn’t need you to take care of His ministry, He only chooses to use you as a vessel. So don’t feel like the ministry belongs to you or depends on you. The people ultimately belong to God and He can take care of them with or without your involvement.
  6. Know your vision and communicate it clearly and often. People naturally rally behind those who have a vision and are developing a strategy to accomplish it. Don’t get so focused on all the little details that you lose sight of the big picture because if you do, those following you will, too, and suddenly no one knows where they’re going.

How do you handle the pressure of church leadership?

P.S. A good healthy dose of video games usually helps relieve pressure, too. ;)

[Suggest a topic, a question or buzz to cover. If I write about it, you’ll get credit with a link in the post.]

Posted on January 10, 2007

  • Another one for me (which I learned the hard way) deals with the other church leadership. In my case, mostly the elders. Knowing (and believing) that the elders/other church leadership are behind you and will support you relieves a lot of pressure to “make everyone happy.” And even though we, as youth ministers, say we know that this is impossible – I think we still (at times) want to. When you know you have the support of others in leadership than it allows you to be more confident in your actions. This comes from spending time with them and getting to know them. Let them see you and your heart – so they will know your desire for growth and can stand up for you when negative comments are thrown your way.

    i hope that makes sense.

  • Tim

    Yeah, that totally makes sense. That’s kinda where I was going with the “developing relationships with church leaders” thing, but you explained it with better detail than me. Thanks!

  • Ally Moody

    Thanks, Tim. : )

    Well…We know that it’s time for a change. A major one. Just can’t say exactly what kind at the moment (This IS the internet, after all). Lol.

    PS-Have you ever read the Barbarian Way by Erwin McManus? I’d highly suggest this book if you’re dealing with such pressures. It’s about time we un-domesticate the church…And the members.

  • Tim

    No, I haven’t read that book. Sounds interesting, though. Maybe I’ll check it out and add it to my waiting list of books to read. Thanks for the recommendation.

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