In a recent article Mark Batterson wrote for the Catalyst newsletter, he said: “Regardless of church governance, you are not called by a church board, senior pastor or denominational leader. You are called by God. And for the record, He’s the only one who can un-call you. You can get fired or get burned by a human employer, but they cannot un-call you. Let me share seven hard-lessons I’ve learned about calling…
1. Live for the Applause of Nail-Scarred Hands.
If you live for popular opinion, you’ll have as many ups and downs as the Dow Jones Industrial average. You can please some of the people all of the time, all of the people some of the time, but you cannot please all the people all the time. Deal with it.
2. Think Long.
If you’re going to dream big, you better think long. You also better pray hard. God doesn’t call us to start strong as much as He calls us to finish well. It’s not about what you’re doing as much as who you’re becoming. Before God can grow a ministry, He needs to grow you. So stay humble and stay hungry!
3. Thou Shalt Offend Pharisees.
I believe pastors are called to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. The second half of the job description is harder than the first half. It’s your job to challenge the status quo. If you aren’t being criticized, then you probably aren’t doing anything that is truly making a difference. One thing is certain: Jesus didn’t shy away from the Pharisees. Stop and think about it: He could have healed the man with the withered arm on any day of the week, but he chose the Sabbath. Why? I think He wanted to confront their hypocrisy. He also knew it would be a lot more fun.
4. Don’t Play the Comparison Game.
That’s what got Saul into trouble. He kept a jealous eye on David. If you compare yourself to other leaders, you always can find a favorable or unfavorable comparison. One road leads to jealousy. The other road leads to pride. Both roads lead to a dead-end in ministry.
5. Be Yourself.
When I first started in ministry, I was trying to be a pastor. Now I’m trying to be myself. There is a world of difference. God gave you a personality! Use it. Use it in your preaching, in your counseling, in your staff meetings. National Community Church has to have one of the highest laugh-per-meeting ratios of any church in the country. Why? Because we don’t hire people who don’t laugh at my jokes! I’m not kidding. Life is too short, and ministry is too hard not to laugh together.” (Click to read the full article.)