3 more ways to respond when you care less
Previously we began a discussionaround leaders, currently serving in ministry, who have become jaded while serving. Their hearts have slowly become numb to having hope in people, a positive outlook on effective outcomes, and high expectations for the power of transformation within the local church.
As we shared before, as the work of the church plays out on a daily basis, behind the scenes are hurt leaders who are forced to move on because they don’t have the time, energy, resources, or leadership to simply stop and process it all. They have to keep going! Sunday is coming, meetings have been scheduled, programs have been booked, home life doesn’t stop, there are budgets to meet, and the pseudo-momentum can’t be forestalled. All of this is snowballing, while hearts become jaded.
Those serving in the ministry have become jaded in the sense that there’s still care there, but there’s less care. They could care less. They could care less when the next person whom they pour their hearts into abandon their leadership and take immature people (families) with them. They could care less that another minister has started slowly plotting behind their back. They could care less that important matters like branding, facility signage, social media, and staff appreciation have all become trivial. They could care less that another family in their church has gotten divorced, which has created an untold amount of collateral damage. They could care less about meeting with staff or leaders or members because everyone only brings their problems to them and rarely and genuinely are concerned about how they are doing. They could care less that another Pastor across town is in a scandal and has to fade into the black.
So, what do we do about it? We’ve had our collective pity party for a moment, but how should we respond? Where do we go from here? Here are three ways, among others, in which you can respond when your heart has made the decision to care less.
1. Can you remain effective and jaded at the same time?
There are a number of people who unknowingly put a ding on your heart and emotions. Don’t ignore that or simply by-pass that. Not only do you need to acknowledge that, you must find a way to address it in a healthy way. That could be through your own small group. That could be through a personal counselor or coach. Find other Pastors who are interested in doing authentic community and not just a gossip huddle. Whatever it is, find a way not to do life alone. Being jaded and in ministry would only allow your ministry to remain shallow.
2. Trust again
As hard as it sounds, and even harder to implement, find a way to trust again. Yes, there may be moments when the disciples desert you. But remember after you rise again, on your first full day back in the office, they will marvel at your scars and your scars will rebuild their own personal confidence. Plus in a few months, a potential 3,000 person (figuratively speaking) altar call could be the result of your faithful work. While we focus on the Judas in the bunch, don’t forget that you have a diverse group that God has given you trusted influence over and they have earned, deserve, and desperately need your open heartedness in their lives. Both of your lives depend on it.
3. Remember God’s past work
One of the most powerful oxymorons in the English language is “Don’t forget to remember.” But as you know, oxymorons can be true! In this case, you can’t forget to remember all of the previous victories that you’ve had. You can’t forget to remember the number of times that God worked miracles beyond your wildest imagination. You can’t forget to remember the moments of peace that came after God allowed a staff cleansing or when God allowed some good people to transition to make way for great people. You can’t forget to remember that God’s resume is solid and his promises are true. You were called to this and if you don’t give up, the earthly and eternal reward is worth it.
You, your ministry, the people that you influence, and the people who are watching, all deserve for your heart to be malleable, permeable, and open to receiving and distributing God’s love, kindness, graciousness, and His Spirit. We are called to be pipelines for hope and not dams of diminished trust. Today, pause, pull away, and declare – I will trust again.
Christopher J. Harris, a native of Palatka, Florida, is currently Executive Pastor of Crossover Church of Tampa, Florida. He is also oversees Strategic Implementation for Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International. He's served at ministries in Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Chicago. He’s an author and blogger and most recently wrote, Temporary Assignments.He's an alumnus of Florida State University, University of South Carolina, and special studies at Princeton Theological Seminary. Harris currently resides in Tampa with his wife Carmen and their children.
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