Conflict: Am I letting trouble consume me?
Constant conflict will drain your emotional and spiritual resources. Negativity that draws our attention. It entices us to fixate, depriving us of full attention on our preaching ministry. The conflict could be because your preaching has been effective; your challenge to move out of the comfort zone is creating discomfort.
There’s a certain amount of presumption in offering “one size fits all” advice, so take this advice with proper precaution: the sooner you deal with trouble, the better off you’ll be. Paul’s exhortation that we not let the sun set on our anger most likely means “deal with it as soon as possible.”
- Proactively (long before trouble arises) build solid spiritual friendships with your leadership team.
- Be willing to put your job on the line (if they won’t follow simple biblical instruction about discipline, why would you want to stay?)
- If you’re a conflict avoider, immediately find a spiritual mentor to help you grow in this matter.
- Never compromise, regardless of who’s involved or what the stakes are.
- Serious conflict management is a specialized ministry. If conflict consumes your preaching ministry, get outside help.
Closure: Am I finished here?
This may be the toughest question of all. Every time I go to a church I ask, “Lord, please let me know when my time is done here before they have to tell me.” For that matter, I pray the same thing about my active ministry of writing, teaching and coaching.
Only once in my career have I felt dry, used up and finished at a church. I felt my time was drawing to a close. A couple of other events, unrelated to the church, confirmed it for me.
In all the interim work my colleagues and I have done – hundreds of churches at this point – we have time and again seen cases where the pastor stayed too long. We have yet to encounter a case where the pastor left before he should have. I am sure it happens but I’ve not seen it myself.
It could be the dryness is a signal. It’s time to get up, leave this flock, and move.
For Moses, the call to move on came when he noticed, off in the distance, some fool had left his campfire uncovered. It was up to Moses to go put it out.