In this episode we explore the whole issue of strengths and weaknesses, with just a smattering of humor, of course. We have a feeling that too many of us 200church pastors feel badly about our weaknesses, and spend too much time worrying about them.
Too many pastors are beaten down by mostly honest and innocent church members who constantly try to “help” their pastor by reminding him or her to get better in their weakest areas. In reality, our weak areas will always be weaker. We cannot be great at everything. And in some areas we will just never be that good. Honestly, you didn't really think you’d be good at everything, did you?
Focusing on our weaknesses and trying to make them stronger will only frustrate and discourage us, and others. We can simply acknowledge our weaknesses, allow for them, involve others in our lives who are strong in those areas, and move on!
In fact, pastors can be just as hampered in their ministry by their strengths, maybe even more hampered! By viewing their strengths as “free money” pastors can hurt themselves by 1) reducing preparation time because they over-rely on their gift, or 2) becoming prideful in their good work, and 3) not including others in the ministry because they themselves do the job just fine.
Below are eighteen reasons (aren't you glad this isn't a sermon?!) why you should view both your strengths AND your weaknesses as equally valuable, because they reflect who God made you to be as a pastor, shepherd, leader, and servant.
First, your weaknesses:
Second, your strengths:
We hope you are encouraged and challenged by this podcast. Remember, your pastoral leadership is a huge deal in the Kingdom of God!
Strengths and weaknesses – aren't you sick of hearing that phrase?! In every interview we have ever had, don’t we all get the same question, “Now, would you please tell me what you think are your strengths and weaknesses?”
A simple variation of that question would be so welcome – just leave out “and weaknesses?” Who in the world wants to share their weaknesses? Honestly, not me, and I imagine, neither do you. My strengths? Oh yes, but not my weaknesses.
After all, weaknesses are, well, weak! They are negative. They are the side of ourselves we would like to hide. They represent the foot we do not want to put forward. They are left-handed, handicapped, and about as welcome as bounced checks. To put it bluntly, weaknesses are bad, and portray the worst about us.
Your weaknesses might be fear, disorganization, lack of courage, an inability to work with numbers, no relational acumen, bad money handler, indecisive, lack of focus, poor communication skills, or that you talk too much.
Strengths, on the other hand, are what we are proud of! We revel in our strengths, and want to promote and publicize them for the entire world to see. We are strong in our strengths, and attractive in our strengths, and powerful in our strengths, and we like ourselves more as we see ourselves through the prism of our strengths.
Maybe you are a great money manager, have good people skills, are an excellent communicator (both written and verbal!), can navigate a large organization well, or are a skilled administrator. Maybe your strength is preaching, counseling, or raising money.
Strengths are good, beneficial, profitable, and productive. We thank God for our strengths and know that we will always do well if we work within our strength zone. To be clear, strengths are good and weaknesses are bad.
Now, wait just a cotton pickin' minute!
But… wait a minute! Are they really? What if, without being disingenuous hucksters, we told you that your weaknesses were just as important as your strengths? What if you didn't have to be embarrassed about your weaknesses, but that you could embrace them, welcome them into your day, and use them to leverage your best ministry?
What if you found out that your weaknesses were just as important as your strengths when it came to your ministry? What if you didn't have to run away from them anymore, and you didn't have to try to improve them?
Podcast Episode 30 - this Wednesday
Well, on Wednesday’s Episode 30 of the 200churches Podcast, that’s exactly what we are going to tell you, and more. We will give you all the reasons why both your strengths, and your weaknesses, equally, make your ministry what it is, as a pastor of a 200church. We are excited to share Episode 30 with you and really believe it will encourage you in your ministry.
Don’t miss Wednesday’s podcast! In the meantime, make a list of all your strengths and weaknesses, and bring them with you when you listen. You do know them, don’t you??
The third post this week is coming on Saturday, not the usual Friday. See that?! You did not even notice. But, we hope you notice the great encouragement/instruction in this post!
This week we've talked about isolation. Now we want to share with you three things you can do to put a lot of distance between yourself and isolation in ministry. Here we go…
Understand that you are in a deep rut. If you are isolated, it is because over time, you have decided to sequester yourself from others. Area by area, piece by piece, you have cordoned your life off from significant people who would otherwise give input to you on your decisions, actions, behaviors, etc.
This has happened over time, and probably almost imperceptibly to you. All of a sudden, you wake up one day, and read something, or listen to something, which causes you to realize that you are quite isolated. You are not connected in meaningful ways with others. You are, in effect, alone – alone with your worries, fears, cares, dreams, and needs. You are also alone with your secrets.
You need to share your secrets with someone. Rick Warren has made the following phrase well known: “You are only as sick as your secrets.” You absolutely will never get out of your isolation if you do not share your secrets with someone. You need to find someone you can trust, or, who is legally obligated to keep your secrets. :) Find a counselor, therapist, or another pastor who will keep confidences. It is amazing how the headlock those secrets have on you is released when you share them.
Yeah, I know, it's hard. Who can you find? There isn't anyone you can trust. You can't afford a counselor. I know, if it was easy, you would have already done it. How badly do you want to grow, to get better, to get away from isolation?
Again, we can’t stress this enough – you HAVE TO share your secrets with another person! When you do, their power over you, and the isolation they force you into – is gone. Once you realize you are in a rut, in a prison of isolation, this is the first thing you must do, find someone with whom you can share your secrets.
Change your habits, one at a time, by replacing them, one at a time. You have habits of isolation that you have formed over time. Habits that keep you at a distance from others, either physically, relationally, or emotionally. Take some time to identify those habits, and one by one, change them. You can’t change them by just getting rid of them; you must change them by replacing them with new habits.
For example, you have a habit of not connecting with people by phone – so make a new habit of calling one person a week, just to talk personally with them. Not for ministry purposes, or to help them, but just to talk about how they are doing, and how you are doing. Make the call.
Or, you may have developed the habit of not sharing certain information with your husband or wife. Maybe you have secrets about how you feel about what they just said, how you are handling the finances, or what you like or dislike around the house. Make a new habit of talking to your spouse! When those times come, when you would normally say nothing, and even hide something from them, begin to open up, talk with them – and stop keeping secrets.
I think that’s enough for today. If you can realize and act on these three things, you will get a long way down the road from your isolation; a road that leads to relational health and wholeness.
Next week, we are talking about our strengths and weaknesses, and how they are BOTH important in shaping our ministry. We have a great podcast for you next Wednesday on this subject that we think will really inspire and encourage you.
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