Tag Archive: image management

Managing Our Image: Our ‘Deflate-Gate’

©pzphotos/ Dollar Photo Club

What do you manipulate to gain an edge? It’s doubtful that you instruct an employee to deflate a football – and the things we do are likely not even clearly cheating. But, there are things we do or don’t do to impact people’s perceptions of us; Author and Pastor John Ortberg calls this image management.

If you don’t follow the NFL, last year’s Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady has been accused and punished by the NFL for directing that his footballs be deflated to an air pressure that makes them easier to throw. I won’t use this blog to weigh in on the controversy or make judgments on Brady, but “Deflate-Gate” has caused me to consider what we as church leaders do in order to appear better than we are.

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Hooters and Me (and you)

After feeling convicted about not having any un-churched friends, I quit my church softball team and joined a co-ed city league. I didn’t know that the local Hooters restaurant had a team in the league.

As I was warming up before a game, I kept noticing Hooters’ girls arrive in their typical service uniforms (from what I’ve been told). I did think it strange that they were wearing stirrups, though. That’s when my teammate said excitedly, “We’re playing the Hooters’ girls!”

My mind raced. Do I feign an injury? Do I call my wife now, as to avoid a problem later? (I’ve posted previously on problem-avoidance.) Then I wondered, “How many church members are going to see me fraternizing with the competition? What will they think? Could I lose my job over this?”

As I walked to the plate for my turn at bat, everything in me said I should strike out and head back to the dugout with no Hooters’ employee interaction. But pride got the best of me, and I mustered a hit that got me to the first base. While standing there, the first base-woman began playing 20 questions with me.

I remember thinking – just keep your eyes on her cleats, and you won’t get in trouble.

Similar to many professions, ministers are faced with the challenges of perception, judgment, and image management. Some of it fair, some of it not.

Some practical takeaways about dealing with perceptions of church-members, and anyone else watching:

  1. Get used to being watched. Really, get comfortable with it.
  2. Besides other people’s expectations of you, God has also clearly said that he has high expectations for those who lead his church (James 3:1 and Titus 1:7-9).
  3. Be above reproach.
  4. Don’t shy away from being around non-Christians just because you might be judged. Jesus did it. But also…
  5. Remember, you’re not Jesus. So don’t let your presence with non-Christians lead to practices of non-Christians.
  6. Don’t pretend to be someone in public who you’re not in private — you should be consistent.
  7. Don’t be afraid to show flaws to others, but don’t perpetuate or celebrate consistent wrong living.
  8. Don’t host staff lunches at Hooters. Not even for their wings.
  9. You probably shouldn’t go Hooters at all (see #6).
  10. If your softball team ever does play a Hooters’ team, trust me, strike out (marriage tip).

Hooters’ eating is likely not a sin—but you’re an example, find wings elsewhere or order out.

As a minister, you can complain that you live in a glass house, or you can own it as the platform that God has set you on for a reason, and set a worthy example for those watching.

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Church Member Perception of Ministers part 2

no whining












Church Member Perception, part two: (Miss part one? Read it here)

Recently, I read a post by Michael Hyatt that talked about attitude change. By changing out one word in his vocabulary, he was able to affect a healthier perspective on life, and a changed attitude. (Read his post here.)

The words he removed from his attitude vocabulary were “I have to” – and the words he replaced them with are “I get to.”

In my best moments, I realize I do this, and maybe you do too:

  • I get to do ministry as my job.
  • I get to honor God with hours of my time each week.
  • I get to come alongside people in their weakest moments.
  • I get to be with people when they choose Jesus.
  • I get use my gifts and skills for work that makes a Kingdom impact.
  • I get to fulfill the calling I believe God placed on my life.

That’s a big difference than what I often hear myself and others say:

  • I have to write a blog about church leadership.
  • I have to attend a meeting.
  • I have to go to lunch today with a church member.
  • I have to make an outreach visit.
  • I have to visit the hospital.
  • I have to prepare a sermon.

One word can encourage a negative perspective to those you interact with. If the congregants at your church hear a sense of “I’ve got to do this,” it’ll likely have negative implications for your ministry impact in the future.

One word change can frame things differently, and alter your attitude.

One purposed word choice can allow people around you to hear how blessed you feel for getting to do ministry.

Be encouraged: we “got” called into this.




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