Having a good plan is not bad and can in fact lead to clarity and focus on where you and your church are headed. But, with all the information available to pastors today we can easily find ourselves spending more time seeking a plan than seeking the Lord.
Once we have allowed our love of strategy to usurp the ultimate authority of Scripture and the Holy Spirit’s promptings in our lives, we are doomed. Nothing compares to the wisdom from above. The first step in leading better is always allowing God to be the first Person to speak into your life.
Who doesn’t like accolades? I may appear to be a confident leader on the outside, but like everyone else, I have times of doubt and insecurity. I like it when people like me or tell me I am leading well. God’s people ought to be people who encourage and uplift and speak life into their leaders. But don’t get confused: when this doesn’t happen, the world will not end. Speaking edification and love into the lives of others is often a learned discipline.
Most pastors are good with people. That’s a good thing. But if you are good with people, you are more likely a people-pleaser, too. We can fall into taking compliments too well or criticisms too harshly when focused on others for affirmation.
We are called to live our lives to an Audience of One. But that’s not easy when we are in front of audiences of people regularly. Scripture is clear that we aren’t to look to the affirmation of others, but to the only One who can truly give it anyways—God alone. The Audience of One idea is real, and helpful. Focus on pleasing God over pleasing people.
We shouldn’t be ruled by the thoughts of others; we desperately need community. Far too many pastors are lone rangers, not in a small group, not in accountability, failing to seek out community. We don’t need people for affirmation; God is enough. But we do need people for our sanctification. We grow better in community than in isolation, and that goes for pastors, too.
Once we recognize that our Audience of One really is just that, we will live in such a way that honoring him will honor others. There Is no way to love God well and to not love others well. When we seek to be more like Jesus, we will inevitably do better at leading and loving others.
When we turn a podium into a pedestal, there is an inevitability that we will be knocked off. We are not designed to be on a pedestal, we are designed to be in community. We need God, but we also need God’s people—his church. Those around you are not only his family, but your family as well.
At the G2 Summit Rick Warren reminded us, “If God only used perfect people, nothing would get done. God only uses broken people.” And that’s okay, because it’s not about us. It’s about a God who loves us so much that he gave his very life for us. There is no “better Ed” or “worse Ed.” There is only “The Ed God loves.” That’s true for you, too.