Coping with Church Leader Jealousy Syndrome

My name is Brian, and I suffer from church leader jealousy syndrome.

Despite it being the day the church I serve was featured in a local Metro newspaper article as being the biggest in the county, and having launched another regional campus, I felt jealous.

Sin perpetuates jealousy and competition.

At lunch, I sat and read a recently released book that was authored by a young leader (a peer in age). It talked about all his successes and friendships with other notable church leaders. My jealously increased.

I was so jealous that I mentally posted a review of his book on Amazon.com in righteous judgment of his writing and name-dropping.

I remember it first happening at my church in Texas. Our church had done some great things for Christ, and for a while, we were the place to be. Then, three miles away, God chose to bless another church, and they became the “it” place.

The pastor of the new “it” church (who was the same age as me) took a church of 150 people up to several thousand in just a few years. I became jealous. God convicted me of this, and still does. I have to work hard to combat this sin.

One way I chose to get over my jealously of other church leaders was to take an opportunity to get to know them. It’s harder to dislike someone once you actually know them personally (their calling, gifting, their values and intentions).

I have to pray about it. I have to remember that the talents and gifts God has given me are best for me, and that He’s the creator of me. I have to remember that my ministry is God-given, and that my influence is ample enough to affect change for the kingdom, as designed by Him.

Now, I serve at a larger church that has a larger influence. That should end my jealously, right? Nope, now my jealously is just for the next largest churches or the more influential leaders.

Have you ever felt this way?

We’ll never be satisfied if we equate church size to success. That’s the problem in equating church size as an affirmation of God’s calling or even favor. I know better. Size is only one factor of many to determine a church’s effectiveness for the kingdom. I’ve witnessed that firsthand.

If by chance you suffer from my same syndrome, I suggest:

  • Be prayerful and remind yourself via Scripture who you are in Christ.
  •  Get to know those of whom you are jealous.
  •  If need be, stop reading their press. If their Twitter feeds cause you to sin in jealously, stop following them.
  •  Be comfortable where God has placed you. Rarely, if ever, is church staff ministry a ladder to climb.
  • Accept that no matter your success or your church’s success, you’ll be tempted to be covet the next thing, so, get a grip on who and where God has called you to be.

 

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What To Do Before You Solicit Resumes

Word gets out about your church’s open staff position. People begin spreading the word via social media. Church members come up to you and tell you about their nephew who’d be great for the position. Less than capable church members submit resumes.  You begin receiving resumes and comparing candidates to candidates, to see who stands out.

drawing person

This is often status-quo, and it has sometimes been the process I have used. But, what you really want is a picture. Not a physical photo of a candidate, but a mental picture of the ideal candidate.

What skill-sets, temperament, experience, and education will allow this person to fulfill the position? You must look at your open position, zero base it, and begin asking questions. What do you want the position to be able to accomplish? What does the ideal candidate look like? Then you begin creating your picture.

Some skill-sets are must-haves; others may be merely nice to have.

At the church I serve at, we first develop a picture, a profile. Once that is complete, we use the profile to solicit resumes. Potential candidates can see what we want, and can submit resumes if they think they are a possible match. From that point, we are not comparing candidates to candidates, but instead we are comparing the candidates back to the picture we first created.

Click here to view a see a sample position profile.

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The sixth sense…guest recognition

They have common tells. They’re reading the bulletin feverishly. They’re actually reading the signage in the hallway. They’re on time. They’re sitting in the back. Their eyes are exploring the room. They’re filling out the guest registration card. There are more subtle signs, but as a minister you must hone your guest radar to see these.

Only when leaving my last church did I find out that many people had appreciated my noticing them as guests, and beginning those first conversations with them. While we all have many tasks going on prior to our various church services, I’d argue that spending ten minutes looking for and greeting first-timers should be the highest of our priorities.

As in most cases, it takes a little relational intelligence to figure out how much a guest wants to engage a staff minister. But I have found that most people are thankful for a personal conversation, particularly in large churches. Have I introduced myself to those I thought were first time guests, only to find out they were founding members? Yes. Have I sniffed out a pastor search committee? Yes. Have I connected guests to information they needed, such as restroom location or length of service-time, and have I sometimes connected them with someone to pray? You bet.

This sixth sense will allow you to minister to people, and it will likely get people to attend your church more than once.

What’s are your best techniques for identifying and encountering guests?

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