The story of the fundraising for the movie wasn’t a good story.
The problem is not the Gospel, the problem is how we are calling people to live out the Gospel.
You can jump into the larger conversation on the importance of seeking criticism in ministry here.
Lots of reasons to avoid criticism. Arrogance and the ignorance are the most likely suspects. The arrogant ones won’t be reading this because they already know everything there is to know, unless that is, they are the trolling type that like to have internet arguments.
The ignorant can be broken into two categories. The naive (been there) who can get blindsided pretty painfully (been there too). And those that choose ignorance because of some negative experience that has created fear.
Our reaction is to return to what is safe and known. Sometimes we even openly acknowledge this but in doing so we tell ourselves that it is only temporary.
Sadly it isn’t and down the road someone could look at your bookshelf and figure out when you stopped learning.
My hope and my hunch is that many of you that are reading this are not yet at a place where you have decided to sit in this negative place. It is also my hope that you want to do things to now to prevent this from happening. I wholeheartedly believe that learning that comes through honest examination and stretching experiences is a crucial form of criticism that we have to seek out. If you are willing to explore this here are a couple thoughts on living this out.
Every Monday when I post MMQH I am sharing things that I read in my Google Reader account from the previous week that caught my attention. In that RSS feeder I have a fairly broad selection with folks that you wouldn’t consider being from the same tribe (Justin Taylor and Tony Jones). I don’t read everything, in fact I skim most or just read the headlines and rarely visit the actual sites. Blogging and Twitter are the best ways to understand what is going on now.
We talk a lot about the initial experience of being a pastor.
If you were anything like me it took you awhile to get your bearings and figure out exactly what it is that you are to do next. You may have an end goal in mind but are clueless about what to do right now.
With that in mind I put together an e-book that is as practical as possible and is for those who just accepted a position and those who are looking to hit reset on their ministry.
Not sure how you are going to go about processing it. You could easily read it in one sitting, but I think it makes more sense to take it one entry per day and work through it slowly. Or it may be more helpful to pick and choose as needed. However you use it, use it.
If you do pick up the eBook I hope it is an encouragement to you to know that you are not alone because we all know how lonely ministry can be.
If you are still looking for a free eBook don’t forget to subscribe to get the free eBook!
Brian was the student you wanted in your Chemistry group project. I know because I was lucky enough to be in Brian’s group at a church planting assessment conference, which is kind of like American Idol for pastors. Our project was to create a presentation to raise funds for a church plant. In November it was made up but you can catch up with Brian and his wife Melissa on their blog and see that they are planting a church, but for real this time.
Monday is clearing the inbox and prep for the big task
Tuesday is meeting day – staff side.
Wednesday and Thursday is get work done.
Friday is off.
I try to do email 3x per day for 20 minute blocks.
If it’s 2 min or less, I get it done on the spot.
If more than that, I stick it into an outlook calendar appointment.
I’ve found it helpful to do a voice memo on my smart phone at home if tasks are coming to me, then I email it to my office computer.
I take time every Thursday to brainstorm leadership development needs and other big picture stuff at the church.
I have three admins that report to me, so I get to delegate a lot. Pastoral care and leader care can never be fully delegated… empowered at times, but people still need access to their pastor.
Outlook, excel, voice memo, form builder
Coffee shops, libraries, collaborative space with my team members – usually a conference room with a white board.
Invisible Children broke the internet on the same week that Peyton Manning was cut and Apple rolled out the new iPad. Their film on making Joseph Kony famous has become as polarizing as it has popular.
Monday, as my students started to jump on board with the campaign I knew we had to discuss it. Our High School students were in a series on Jesus as light. Discussing and showing the film made sense, so last night we did.
Personally I’ve never supported Invisible Children. In the past I have supported other organizations and causes. It wasn’t that I was against IC but the pushback against IC and #KONY2012 was not a surprise. There have been many posts critiquing IC, but this one was one of the first I read. The original post is should be read but also the response from IC.
So before we showed the video I prefaced it by saying:
In our discussion after the film our group was clearly divided on the issue, but the conversation remained civil.
I’m curious as to how other Youth Groups and Ministries are handling this? Let us know in the comments.
What if you made it your goal to get fired by the end of the year?
Not from being lazy or due to a moral failure, but terminated because you disrupted the community. I’ve never talked to a leader or a pastor who has said they wished their community would stop following Jesus so intensely. I’ve never said that about any community I’ve been part of and I definitely have never said that about myself.
There is a universal consensus that the local church isn’t what it should be. We may differ on the details, but we can all agree that we fall short both as communities and as leaders.
What if you fully lived out your calling as a teacher? a leader? an artist?
Without fear of what someone will say or how things are perceived, but in confidence of your true identity. We hide behind notions that we can’t without coming across as too brash or without alienating someone. If I lived into my full calling being a jerk isn’t an option.
What if we didn’t worry about job security?
Instead of being so concerned with our next step in ministry we thought about how we equip others for ministry. How we can we give those that lead us a valid excuse to fire us because there is someone else or a group that is able to do our job.
Normally when I read or hear something of this nature I roll my eyes or tune them out. The sad thing is that I didn’t used to do that. When I heard someone speak boldly and talk about being willing to lose everything for the sake of Christ I was moved and challenged, now I think about retirement funds and housing markets.
I am not miserable but I might be comfortable and comfortable is a worthless place.
You can jump into the larger conversation on the importance of criticism in ministry here.
Criticism makes you feel isolated.
Maybe it is because before we step into the professional world we can insulate ourselves from criticism fairly easily. We grow up mainly hearing positive things and if we are good enough at something: sports, music, school, etc. we can focus on the positive reinforcement.
So that first time you are criticized it feels very lonely and it feels like you are the first one to ever experience it.
As a Rookie Pastor criticism is inevitable. Feeling like you are the only one to go through it doesn’t have to be.
There are others in your church and in your larger community who know exactly what you are going through. After awhile you will figure out that every town, suburb or neighborhood you minister in has a very distinct culture. As you get started you need to have a relationship with other pastors in the area for moments just like this. They have been around longer than you and can key you into the culture a bit helping you understand the priorities and perspectives that are dominate. Plus they can empathize with you because they have been criticized for some of the same stuff.
When we overlook the other leaders around us because of pride or because we are intimidated we only encourage that lonely feeling to set in once criticism pops up. Leadership is lonely enough as it is, don’t make it harder on yourself.
The isolation that we feel or the defensiveness that we sit in when criticism comes doesn’t create a situation where we learn from it. You can’t hear the truth in the critique when you are too busy feeling sorry for yourself. We lack a proper perspective in these moments as we go it alone. In talking with others who have been down this path we can begin to take on that more constructive perspective because we see that we aren’t the first one to have to deal with something like this.