A Reality Observation for Pastors and Leaders

Good Job

Here’s a reality pastors and leaders need to know:

The longer you do what you do well…the less praise you’ll receive for it.

Everyone loves to praise the new guy…the guest appearance…the surprise home run.

Once you do exceptional for very long…it’s the new norm.

It’s expected…

You’ll hear less approval.

It’s not necessarily that you aren’t doing a good job anymore. You’ve just set a new bar of expectation.


Still, this post also serves as a warning of sorts.

The new norm…the quietness…can make you think you’re no longer appreciated. If you’re not careful, you’ll begin to doubt your abilities or the success you are having.

Those emotions…the reactions…are normal, even if they aren’t true.

I’m not ignoring times when you aren’t doing your best. Don’t be an unaware leader.

I’m not trying to convince you not to be normal. That would be abnormal of me.

I am encouraging you to seek your affirmation beyond the verbal praise of man.

I am saying that if you live for the praise of others, you’ll eventually be controlled by that praise (or lack thereof).

And I am suggesting you may be doing everything right, but seldom hear the good that you’re doing.

That’s part of leadership. And, the leader who can lead just as passionately towards a noble goal, without the praise of man, even when criticism seems more dominant, is on track of success.

Have you ever been in a “normal” season of producing good work, but not feeling valued for it?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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10 thoughts on “A Reality Observation for Pastors and Leaders

  1. As you said, “I am saying that if you live for the praise of others, you’ll eventually be controlled by that praise (or lack thereof),” can also mean that you can be controlled by their disapproval (or fear of disapproval) as well. Easier said than done, but we should aim to please God first and fear God alone.

  2. I have noticed that other many pastors including myself go through a season of feeling un-appreciated during the months of January, February and March. Not being able to do much outside and the short days color my perception of how the congregation is doing, and how well I am performing in my calling as minister. My perception begins to even out toward the end of March beginning of April. I have learned to anticipate my skewed perception and have asked several friends to monitor my work and my attitude and give me an honest assessment of how things are going in the congregation and in my ministry.

  3. Awesome Wisdom. Thanks! So true, it is the “human condition” to want a pat on the back. I wanted it just like the next person did until God grew me out of needing it! It was really a slight posture adjustment from horizontal ministry to vertical ministry. Being called to God 1st and being HIS 1st! Being1st, doing 2nd! In vital-vertical relationship with God, my doing was in followship of HIM and unto HIM alone I did. 🙂 I found that the Holy Spirit has a way of filling to overflow every void created by our “human condition”! AWE-GOD! Cling to HIM, dig your roots deeply in His Kingdom!
    Twitter: kmac4him

  4. When you wrote – "…if you live for the praise of others, you’ll eventually be controlled by that praise (or lack thereof)." Reminds me of a Nine Inch Nails song lyric: "Bow down before the one you serve, you're going to get what you deserve." It also reminds me of what Tim Keller says about this: (paraphrasing) "You are controlled by whatever it is that you worship"… It's so true! When Christians talk about being free in Christ – this is often what comes to mind for me first… being FREE from the pursuit and desperate desire for the praise and approval of others. Knowing that God is pleased with me and loves me no matter how well I do, how good I am, etc… is true freedom! 🙂

    (this may be a bit of a stretch…) but the dynamic you're describing in this post is the reason why Karaoke is so attractive & fun to some people. Many people work thankless jobs and get little to no praise or affirmation or "thank you"'s…. but you can be anybody, walk up to a mic, and sing a song (poorly or well), and you get applause and encouragement from the other people in the room. 🙂 It's small, but it's unmistakably attractive and uplifting to get encouragement of any kind. Especially after risking potential embarrassment by singing publicly. I've NEVER heard anybody get "booed" after singing karaoke.

    thanks for reading my LONG comment.. haha – thanks for blog & tweets 🙂