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 was serving was being 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.
How’d I become jealous after reading the newspaper? Well, at lunch, I was reading again, this time, 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. Jealously emerged.
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.
Then, I served at a larger church that has a larger influence. That should’ve ended my jealously, right? Nope, my jealously then focused on the next largest churches or the their 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.
p.s. When I first published this, I was an XP at mega and multi-site church. and now, I’m at a small church plant. Yet, I still believe in what I wrote, and at times, I still suffer from “church leader jealously syndrome.”