This is part of a blog series that has 30 practical tips for the pastor looking to start or restart well. You can get the entire series as a Kindle book. The landing page will be updated with each new post.
As you are going around and talking with folks in those first 30 days it will quickly become clear who has an agenda. Those that are really pushing their puppet and clown ministry are pretty easy to spot (it’s the bedazzled sweaters) and can be let down easy. It’s the ones that have the sneaky agendas you have to watch out for.
The people that are pushy friendly, that really want to get to know you are the ones to be careful of. However from that same group you will find those that truly want to be supportive of you and those are the people you really do need to listen to.
If you haven’t been told this yet let me break the news to you: ministry is really hard. Not like Calculus hard or Saturday crossword puzzle hard, but draining, exhausting, “I don’t get paid enough to put up with this” hard.
Because of the challenges of ministry you need to embrace the cheerleaders and avoid the axe-grinders. The axe-grinders are the ones that send you an email Monday morning killing all the joy you had from the day before. Axe-grinders point out the problems with your program but don’t offer to help. These people aren’t helping and would probably be happier at another church, to bad they appear to enjoy the misery.
On the other hand the cheerleaders you need aren’t the ones that rubber-stamp their approval on anything and everything you do. A good cheerleader in ministry isn’t going to let you ignore the problems; they will lovingly point them out and help you correct them. Nor will a good cheerleader won’t let you sit in the negativity that comes from the critics.
Thankfully I am married to my biggest and most honest cheerleader.