I miss the voice of Paul Harvey on the radio, who would say, “Hello Americans, it’s Frrriiiiday.” That one voice went out over the airwaves for 70 years and literally created radio news and commentary. He was one of the most well-known radio men ever at the time of his death in February 2009. Voices are not influential only on radio, but also in the local church.
I’ve heard this “seven people” stat for many years, and recently I read a post by Dr. Jim Meyer that said this: “Regardless of church size, when push comes to shove, most pastors leave a church because of a group of 7-10 individuals.” Having been a pastor for more than 25 years, I can attest to the accuracy of this statistic.
When I am really feeling discouraged and worn out, I intentionally list the people that I feel are working against what I am trying to accomplish in my church. Only once was there more than seven people! It’s usually just a handful of people who are critical, and the vast majority of people are doing just fine. Of course, the smaller your church is, the fewer critical people you need to feel you are being attacked. Wouldn’t it be great if we paid as much attention to the happy and/or quiet people as we do to the complaining and/or critical ones?
Perspective, outlook, and attitude are all so important for us to control as we lead our 200church. Don’t allow yourself to fall under the influence of just a couple of naysayers. It’s important for you to stay focused on the big picture of what God is doing in your church through you.
So, how about you? Are you discouraged today because you feel like a lot of people are against you? Take out a paper and pen and list them. That’s right, scribble down their names. Got more than seven? I doubt it. Now, frame that kind of reality, and allow yourself to feel the affirmation of all of the people in your church who are thankful for you and thrilled you are their pastor. That’s it, now you’re feeling a little better!
Today a member was in my office and did something that was very uncharacteristic – she praised the Lord, our church, and my pastoral ministry! How unusual – people more often stop by to lodge a complaint or “concern.” This lady told me what my ministry in my 200church meant to her and to her family. How encouraging!
If you feel like the walls are closing in around you, get out of your office, take a run or a drive, or just a walk, and feel the sunshine and smell the outdoors. God is bigger than you, your ministry, or the complaints of naysayers. They may even be right, and we need to discern that so that we can learn, but we should not allow complainers to muffle the call of God in our lives to pastor and shepherd God's people.
It only takes 7 people to get you discouraged in your role as a pastor - don't let them! Stay confident, be hopeful, and expect God to work through you. Don't start counting those people until they number 8 - then you can get serious about finding the cause of the raucus!
Next week we talk about the scourge of pornography and its effects on our communities, and even pastors!
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