I received a message from a staff member of another church recently. He is struggling with the current leadership and wondering how long he can continue to be where he doesn’t support the vision and direction of the pastor. He wanted my advice on how he should be responding during this season of ministry.
This situation is obviously not unique to churches, but also happens frequently in other organizations. One problem is that in this economy, it’s much harder to transfer jobs, so many people are feeling stuck with their current position. I don’t believe all hope is lost during these times and an individual can continue to grow even with a leader he or she cannot respect.
Here are 7 actions I encouraged him to do:
Talk to God - That’s an obvious, but sometimes it’s not the obvious that we do. Ask God to reveal to you His purposes for your life. It could be He’s preparing you for something, stirring the nest so-to-speak, or that you are in a time of testing. Don’t assume God is absent during this time. I assure you He’s not asleep at the wheel and has a plan. The closer you are to Him during this time the sooner you’ll understand that plan.
Keep working – Most of us need a paycheck. Be grateful while you have one. Unless you know for certain you are to quit, it is destroying you or your family, or you sense something immoral is happening, there’s nothing wrong with working until you find something else.
Do your best - While you are there be above reproach in your work ethic. Make it your aim to prepare for your successor and to leave your area of responsibility better than you found it when you arrived.
Follow the leader – I know. That’s the tough one, but as long as you’re there you must respect authority. You may not respect him as a leader but you can respect him as the boss.
Learn all you can - The fact is we learn more during the stressful and difficult times, so be a sponge. You may gain all the wisdom of what not to do when you are in control, but you will learn something if you try.
Be thankful for the connections and experience - You will be gaining connections in the church (work) world…or at least you have that opportunity. It’s easier to network when you’re in the field than it is once you are no longer working. Be thankful for that opportunity.
Be a cheerleader for life - You may not enjoy your work setting but you can still be a positive life influence for those around you. Use your smile and your pleasant disposition as an encourager for others. You’ll feel better about yourself after you eventually leave.
Keep watching - Be open to what God will do next in your life. It may not be what you are expecting. Chances are good it will stretch you and require a leap of faith. Prepare your heart, family and attitude for that opportunity when it arrives.
By the way, because I know someone will think this, my friend understands the concept of a call but isn’t sure God hasn’t already released him from his assignment. He just can’t find another position right now.
I have thoughts on the call I can share in another post, but basically I believe the call is more to a person (Christ) than to a location. I think we often confuse those two and the person call trumps the location call every time.
Have you ever been in this position?
What would you say to my friend? What advice would you give him?