Dear Hurting Pastor

This letter is dedicated to every church pastor who has ever felt burned out, been in a ‘funk’ and could not¬†get¬†out, lost the respect of your staff or board, or simply had the passion of your calling to ministry fade away. ¬†

Dear Lead Pastor,

I’m sorry. ¬†I’m sorry for all the 1:00 a.m. phone calls that took you away from you family too often. ¬†I’m sorry about all the ridiculous expectations the church placed on you for so many years. Having to appear at every single event throughout the year. ¬†Making yourself available 24/7 to EVERYONE for absolutely ANYTHING. ¬†I’m sorry for all those anonymous I’m displeased with your leadership notes you found under your office door on Mondays. ¬†I’m sorry you didn’t receive THANK YOUs and HUGS more often for the compassion you poured into people. ¬†I’m so very sorry that your kids witnessed an unpleasant, un-Christlike side of church and ministry while they were growing up. ¬†You probably did not get to witness first hand much of the fruit resulting from your ministry either…I’m sorry for that too. ¬†I’m sorry that no one in your church really knows what it is like being in your shoes.

I’m sorry the church placed you so high up on a pedestal that it seemed impossible to ever step down. ¬†You should have never been put there. ¬†That position is reserved for Jesus. ¬†He’s the only one who deserves to be there…who can withstand the pressures that exist there…and the only one the church needs to see up there.

In those empty, dry, and lonely seasons…I’m sorry no one in the church offered loving accountability to you. ¬†They should have given you a paid and structured Sabbatical. ¬†Offering to provide you with the right counseling, or even find you a mentor. ¬†Now that would have been helpful. ¬†I’m sorry that did not happen.

Pastor, mostly I am sorry that ministry work has put a bad taste in your mouth for the church. ¬†As someone who has experienced this with a handful of friends who were pastors, allow me to encourage you. ¬†The church is made up of flawed people, therefore, it is flawed. ¬†That’s just the way it is going to be until Christ returns. ¬†Pastors do not have direct control over the health of their church congregations, staff, and boards. ¬†But WE DO have 100% control of our own personal health and leadership.

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Have you left the ministry? ¬†Or, have you been thinking about stepping out but haven’t quite taken the plunge yet?

Please hear me on this. ¬†If there is ANY amount of calling left on your life, stick with it…BUT make some changes. ¬†Take charge of leading by example. ¬†Be intentional about resting and recharging once a week. ¬†Empower others (staff and volunteers) to share the burden of hospital visits, speaking/teaching at small group gatherings and Bible studies, and even leading some team meetings. ¬†And for the love of all that is good and meaningful in the world, please find a mentor! ¬†Someone OUTSIDE of your church who is spiritually mature and will speak truth into you as a leader, husband, and father.

If the Lord has truly called you to ministry and others around you affirm that calling, then be obedient.  The church desperately needs healthy pastors.

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.  РGalatians 6:9

Blessings!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 Most Common Excuses Men Use For Not Leading Their Families

(Disclaimer) I have personally failed at this one more than I have done well.

The list below came from meeting with families in the church for over 20 years. ¬†And if I’m honest, many of these have been my own excuses as well. ¬†Do some self-evaluation with these. ¬†Can you relate to any of them?

  1.  I do!  I lead my family by working hard and providing for them financially.
  2. ¬†That’s my wife’s job. ¬†She’s home with the kids more than I am anyway.
  3. ¬†What if I fail? ¬†Things are OK now…why risk messing it up?
  4. ¬†I’m afraid that if I begin praying with my family and leading spiritual discussions it will be viewed as insincere.
  5. ¬†I wouldn’t even know where to start.
  6. ¬†I’m not spiritually mature enough to lead them.
  7. ¬†It was not modeled for me as a child. ¬†My father didn’t lead us spiritually, so I don’t even know what this looks like.

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Now, experience tells me that if you are a husband or father reading this at least one of the above excuses describes where you’re at on the topic of leading your family spiritually. ¬†Am I right? ¬†Numbers 4 through 7 were¬†mine for many years, and I still wrestle with them now and then.

The good news!!!  

You can begin leading your family today as their spiritual guide…and you don’t have to get it perfect right from the start. ¬†Ha…those perfect moments are far and few between. ¬†But I’ll tell you this, its more about effort, heart, and obedience to our calling than perfection. ¬†If you can be OK with that mindset you can do this. ¬†Trust me!

Note: If you are interested in receiving personal coaching on this topic, feel free to contact me at BrentDumler@icloud.com.  I’ll custom taylor something to fit you and your family.

 

5 Ways To Ensure Getting Fired From Your Church

I’ve been in ministry for a long time, and thankfully I’ve never been fired from a church position. ¬†In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever been fired from any job.

That said, I’ve witnessed numerous friends/co-workers over the years lose their jobs. ¬†Some did not deserve it. ¬†Others, however, should have been let go but were not.

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Here are 5 things that can lead you to losing your position at your church:

  • Disregard for policies and procedures | Most people really hit the Student Pastor hard on this one, but I’ve seen all levels of leadership turn their nose up at P&Ps that they don’t personally agree with. ¬†They simply do their own thing. ¬†But it’s only a matter of time before this one bites you in the butt.
  • Poor time management | Some of us need to work on this more than others. ¬†Nevertheless, this can be viewed by some senior leadership as laziness. ¬†When we fail to manage our time well tasks tend to get done last minute and often poorly.
  • Lack of good people skills | We are in the people business. ¬†Church is made up of people. ¬†So, whether you work in pastoral staff or administrative support, knowing how to deal with all kinds of people and people issues is critical for all of us.
  • Disconnection with the mission and values | This is really big! ¬†Honestly, this is something we must consider and pray about before ever taking a position on a church staff. ¬†Mission and values ‘should’ be what guides and molds the direction of the church and all of it’s ministries.
  • Not a team player | Church really is a team sport. ¬†And churches that have individual ministry silos operating on their own with zero regard for what the rest of the church is doing……well, these churches become ineffective in achieving the Great Commission. ¬† They don’t have ¬†a Kingdom work mindset. ¬†Competition with other churches, as well as with their own church ministries, becomes commonplace.

There are MANY more things that can get us canned, but these are some of the most common that I’ve seen. ¬†What would you add to the list?

Leave a comment below.  I love hearing from my readers.  Thank you!

7 Ideas For Creating Staff Connections

Church staff must learn to do life outside of ministry work together if they hope to lead as a family.

After giving a breakout talk at CMConnect recently, I was asked about practical ideas for things staff can do to create healthy, meaningful relationships with one another.  The purpose is to build family-type relationships.

Why?

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So, here are some fun possibilities to consider: 

  • Skeet shooting (yup, but not when your Lead Pastor is angry with you).
  • Have a staff member (and spouse) over for dinner just to get to know them better. ¬†Be sure to enquire about food allergies ūüôā
  • Bowling (bonding with fun competition).
  • Have a regular staff meeting with zero ministry work on the agenda.
  • Pray for each other’s marriages, kids, finances, health, and ministry concerns. ¬†Don’t skimp on time with this!
  • Experience a personality assessment together and discuss the results openly. ¬†Talk through what you learn about leading together that you didn’t know before.
  • Volunteer in someone else’s ministry area! ¬†This expresses love & appreciation for that leader, and models ‘Kingdom Work’ to the rest of the church.

Would you add anything to this list?

Please leave a comment below. ¬†I love hearing from my readers ūüôā

Note: If you are interested in receiving coaching on this topic or other ministry areas, feel free to contact me at BrentDumler@icloud.com. ¬†I’ll custom taylor something to fit your specific needs.

 

 

Leadership Burnout: 4 Signs To Watch For

“Leadership is a marathon, NOT¬†a sprint.”

You’ve heard this before. ¬†Church leadership requires a healthy pace. ¬†You and I; ¬†we’re not Superman. ¬†We’re definitely not God. ¬†So we need to stop living our lives like we are.

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As leaders in the Church, you and I have a huge responsibility.  This is all the more reason we must be attentive to our spiritual, physical, and emotional health regularly.

Here are 4 signs to beware of:

Short temper |¬†Anyone ever accused you of being snappy? ¬†Maybe your spouse or a co-worker? ¬†And when they address it doesn’t it make us even SNAPPIER? ¬†When we have been going full throttle for too long, anything (anyone) that appears to be a speed bump in our way ends up really irritating us. ¬†Watch out for this.

Fatigue |¬†Staying up too late and getting up too early. ¬†Have you ever said to yourself, “People survive on 3-4 hours of sleep a night all the time. ¬†I just need to push through this busy season.” ¬†Two thoughts here. ¬†1. That is simply justifying an unhealthy lifestyle. ¬†2. If you’re in church leadership, guess what? ¬†It’s always a busy season!

Told by others |¬†This one usually stings a bit. ¬†And the reason is usually because the person holding us accountable is someone we have a close relationship with. ¬†A spouse, close mentor, or good friend. ¬†That’s why it stings…because you and I know they’re right! ¬†Here are a few things I’ve personally been told: “Hey man, what’s up? You’ve been a bit distant lately.” ¬† “You have not checked in on me and how my family has been doing in quite a while. ¬†I miss that.” ¬† Are you O.K? You haven’t been yourself lately.”

Isolation | This one is huge!  Beware when you reach the point of dreading being around anyone.  You stop going to Small Group with your spouse during the week.  You tend to be the last one in at staff meetings and the first one to leave.  Your list of friends you can confide in has diminished to zero.

If you can relate to any of these today, please….talk to someone. ¬†Modify your schedule. ¬†Take a true Sabbath rest. ¬†Ask your spouse to pray for/with you.

If this isn’t you but you know someone who is in this place, do them a favor. ¬†Offer some loving accountability. ¬†Share this post with them. ¬†Offer to pray over them.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore your gut on this. ¬†Leave a comment below.

You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram.

 

 

Has Busyness Intruded On Your Life?

I am sick and tired!

Literally, as I write this I have been knocked down for the last 5 days. ¬†I’ve missed work, gotten behind in my studies, and whined a lot to my family about how miserable I feel.

Truth | You and I are not super-human, and we’re definitely not God! ¬†We were not created to be invincible (I know, hard to believe).

Confession | I haven’t taken time to rest like I should. ¬†This is a huge reason I got sick. ¬†I have not had my quiet time with Jesus in the last week. ¬†I have not been proactive about taking a real Sabbath once a week.

So how did this happen to me?  How do we allow our days to spin out of control?

EASY!

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We let our priorities and healthy habits fall out of sight. ¬†When we don’t plan ahead…when intentionality becomes scarce…those things get replaced. ¬†So what takes their place? ¬†¬†Busyness!¬†

I don’t know about you, but I plan to be more intentional with my time. ¬†That’s simply going to mean looking ahead at my week and planning accordingly.

How about you?  How do you successfully keep busyness from leading the way?

Comments are always welcome and appreciated.

Comments, prayer requests, and questions are welcome below.
You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram!

Why You’re Being Attacked

Does God’s Spirit ever hit you on the head when you are reading the Bible or a good devotional? ¬†Well, that happened to me today. ¬†And this quote particularly stuck out to me.

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There’s a reason you are being attacked. ¬†(If you’re not, go encourage someone who is) ¬†You are blessed and favored by our Father in Heaven. ¬†And the enemy…well, he comes after the blessed and favored.

By this I know that you delight in me: my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.  But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever. РPsalm 41:11-12

Yes…God does delight in YOU! ¬†Keep your eyes laser-focused on Him and maintain your integrity. ¬†The only power/influence the enemy has over you is what you give him. ¬†We have already won because He already has the victory.

This is as much a reminder to myself as for anyone, but I thought I’d pass it on to you as well. ¬†Hang tight….your current struggle is not without purpose and Jesus IS walking with you every step of the way.

 

Leave a comment below.  You can also connect with me on Twitter and Instagram.