by Craig Cable
Most of my professional career has been spent in leadership positions. I learned early that to be a good leader, I had to have fairly thick skin. This was especially true when dealing with people. Sparks often flew when I encountered difficult people who had unrealistic expectations or an unhealthy sense of entitlement.
I recently had candid conversations with two wonderful friends in ministry regarding a pastor’s need for thick skin. During one of these conversations, my associate pastor friend shared that a disgruntled church member recently sent the senior pastor an absolutely scathing letter via registered mail. This unorthodox method of delivery ensured that the pastor would read and feel every toxic word that was spewed out on paper. I thought, “What infraction could possibly warrant a nasty letter like that?”
My second conversation was with the wife of a pastor. She told me that they’re constantly receiving criticism from outspoken parishioners. In spite of their best efforts, someone is always going to be upset and she and her husband were always going to hear about it. With a trembling voice and tears in her eyes, she confided that they’re often left wondering if they can do anything right. I can only imagine how daunting and discouraging that must feel week after week, year after year.
It doesn’t escape me that pastors are under immense pressure. Aside from pouring their lives into helping children, youth, and adults grow in their relationships with Jesus, they’re also the lightning rod for everyone’s frustrations. They have to be compassionate and grace-filled in the face of adversity, scrutiny, and challenge. And if the rigors of ministry weren’t enough, they’re also called upon to wear the hats of coach, counselor, and even custodian at times.
If you’re a pastor, please know that…
-I’m grateful for you and your servant heart.
-I’m thankful for the long hours and thankless work you do behind the scenes.
-I’m not going to tell you what I want, but I’ll ask how I can better serve you.
-I’m committed to praying for your marriage, your children, your health, and your mental well-being.
-I’m going to do my best not to have my words or actions become thorns that test the resiliency of your thick skin.
As the director of church leadership publishing here at Group, I see my role as a leader who serves those who lead others. I’m here to help you be successful in all that you do and all you strive for. I’m committed to sharing with you fresh insights and new perspectives so that you may refresh your church…and in the process I hope to refresh you also.
The RefreshtheChurch.com website exists to serve people in ministry…people like you.