Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why Leaders Burnout

In January 2014, Pastor Shantae Charles (who by the way is my developmental editor) and I were discussing about why leaders burnout. I was sharing one side as to why leaders are burning out in churches and she was sharing with me the other side. So, Shantae wrote what she sees in Part 1 and I write what I see in Part 2.

Part 1- Where Are The Laborers? 

From a leadership standpoint, I've seen Pastors burn out simply because they lack fellow laborers for various reasons. Some laborers insist on being served and never serving. Some laborers refuse training and equipping. Some laborers feel it is all on the leader to carry the load of ministry. Acts gives a clear example of why the office of Deacon was established: so that those preaching had time to give to the work of feeding the flock and that required time before the LORD. 

Acts 6 Now about this time, when the number of the disciples was greatly increasing, complaint was made by the Hellenists (the Greek-speaking Jews) against the [native] Hebrews because their widows were being overlooked and neglected in the daily ministration (distribution of relief).
2 So the Twelve [apostles] convened the multitude of the disciples and said, It is not seemly or desirable or right that we should have to give up or neglect [preaching] the Word of God in order to attend to serving at tables and superintending the distribution of food.
3 Therefore select out from among yourselves, brethren, seven men of good and attested character and repute, full of the [Holy] Spirit and wisdom, whom we may assign to look after this business and duty.
4 But we will continue to devote ourselves steadfastly to prayer and the ministry of the Word.
5 And the suggestion pleased the whole assembly, and they selected Stephen, a man full of faith (a strong and welcome belief that Jesus is the Messiah) and full of and controlled by the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte (convert) from Antioch.
6 These they presented to the apostles, who after prayer laid their hands on them.
7 And the message of God kept on spreading, and the number of disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem; and [besides] a large number of the priests were obedient to the faith [in Jesus as the Messiah, through Whom is obtained eternal salvation in the kingdom of God].
8 Now Stephen, full of grace (divine blessing and favor) and power (strength and ability) worked great wonders and signs (miracles) among the people.

The cares of the Believers needed to be met, but they were delegated to those not called to the feeding of the flock spiritually. When we are all operating where God has called, the message of the Gospel can spread unhindered. It is interesting that many desire to be fed new revelation, but as they clearly show above, Leaders need time to give themselves to prayer and the study of the Word. They cannot do that if they are encumbered about and overwhelmed with an office other than their own. That office is Pastoring. When it is neglected, it will show in the lives of the flock. 

I can't tell you how many comments I've had to endure that assumed that I wasn't "really doing much" with my time as a Pastor, not realizing that if a Pastor has not chosen the most important thing "sitting at the feet of Jesus" they really should not try to feed you from their soulish realm. I recently read a post that I believe sums up another area that Pastors struggle with: opening their heart to unreceptive people. Listen to these wise words from Dr. Matthew L. Stevenson III: 

On a few occasions, the Apostle Paul spoke to the assembly He held responsibility over regarding the position of his heart towards them.

He says in 2 Cor 6:11-13 "We have spoken freely to you, Corinthians, and ENLARGED OUR HEARTS towards you. We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us. As a fair exchange—I speak as to my children—open wide your hearts also.

He expresses that He and His Team were leading a people whose hearts were closed towards Him. The Apostles heart was ENLARGED and OPENED in the direction of his people. His admonishment was to have them open their hearts towards His leadership.

Then again in another chapter, 2 Cor 7;2-3, He says this;

" Make room for us in your hearts. We have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have exploited no one. I do not say this to condemn you; I have said before that you have such a place in our hearts that we would live or die with you."

This is so convicting and yet so enlightening. You will not get much from the personality of your leader, but that's not the part of him/her that's meant to impact you. You are meant to be partakers of what rests on his/her life. You will never get the most out of what rests on your leader if your heart is closed towards them.


Many a person has been disappointed because of what they thought they weren't getting from their leader, when the real issue is, when God assigns a leader to your life, he's not their to be your social buddy, but an instrument and conduit, that God's plans can be articulated and stewarded in your life. Maybe you aren't getting the fullness of what you should be getting because your heart is closed. This principle works both ways. As a leader, is your heart opened WIDE to those you lead?

- Dr. Matthew L. Stevenson III

I close with this: On both sides of the coin, leaders and followers, we need to be mindful of placing ungodly expectations on each other. The goal should not be: can I get my "money's worth" out of a leader or can I get my "service worth" out of a follower. The goal should be to serve one another in love, to spread the message of the Kingdom, and to see God's citizenship increase. Whether leading or serving we must check our motives and we must align our expectations with the Word of God. When we veer from how God has called his church to administrate, there is bound to be issues. Christ is the foundation. He laid it already. He's instructed us to build carefully, to not construct paradigms that move away from the foundation.

We must pray to the Lord of the Harvest to send laborers who are willing to serve in their field and gather the harvest of souls. The harvest is plenteous, but the laborers are few. Let's pray for laborers who love the Lord of the Harvest, their fellow co-laborers, and the harvesting of souls. 

Part 2 - I Want Control

Whether I'm visiting a church or watching TV, I am finding where the church is all about the leader and they want total control - and some will turn around and complain that they're burned out. It can extend down to bible studies and group meetings - where the leader will want you to confess their sins.

A few years back, a well known pastor was charged with having sex with another male. If it had not been for someone exposing their sin, the probability of him coming clean with his sin would be about zero. And many leaders feel today that they don't have to share their sins, and still maintain control. A critical piece to this control is that there is very little delegation (and if there is any delegation, the leader must ensure he is in control). Many leaders have forgotten James 3:1 where it says let there not be many teachers for they will receive the greater condemnation. A leader will be focused on church growth and ensuring that the congregation brings members to the church to boost his ego. Back to the pastor's story, the people who are in the leadership role should've held him accountable. Now there will be some leaders who will expose the sin to the congregation (but will be predicated if you're part of the leader's elite circle). But because the leader wants all the attention and all the glory, those are to hold the leader accountable either burnout (trying to keep the leader happy or to maintain their position). Either way, leaders who feel they want total control have no right to complain when they are burned out. That's the price to pay for wanting to be the main man. Many have to learn the hard way that the main man syndrome will kick your back side in more ways than one.

To close my segment (which is relatively short by the way – since I covered this heavily in two blog series in the beginning of 2013 entitled the AMCC & What Breaks The Heart of God), I say this: leaders need to know that if they burnout and don't let the body of Christ flourish in their gifts, they will scatter and the church can crumble.

We pray that you’ve been blessed by this.


The Mayne Man

Monday, June 23, 2014

Is Something Wrong (or Am I Just Losing It)?

Good morning everyone. Last night I was listening to a program and a lot of statements were made. I started to ask myself as I listened, is something wrong or am I just losing it. So, I would like to ask your opinion as you read these statements (and for some of them, I will add my $.02 worth), is something wrong or am I just losing it). Let's begin:

1. Many of you know that I'm an accountant by profession and that if we are audited by the IRS, we have to produce receipts (the typical statute is about 7 years, that's how long we must maintain our records). Many of us who have small-business owners have a greater risk of being audited. Anyway, let's add to this: what many of you don't know is that I work for state government (in fact for 12 years) as my day-time job. Now where I work, the IT section can pull every single e-mail I send & receive during my 12 years of being in state government if I ever had to go to trial or was under investigation. the case of Lois Lerner, you mean to tell me that their computers crashed and you can't pull up their e-mails???? Is something wrong or am I just losing it?

2. Let's stay on the IRS for this statement as well. Now I'm aware that the IRS is a bureaucratic system. So, if I happen to have a political and/or religious view that someone within any bureaucratic system doesn't like, that means I stand a greater risk of going to jail? Now watch this, they get a taxpayer bonus as a result of putting the average taxpayer in jail. Is something wrong or am I just losing it?

3. This statement is touchy on many levels: it's interesting that we will give diapers and formulas to those who enter our country illegally, while single mothers in our own country are struggling to feed their families. Is something wrong or am I just losing it?

4. This one is personal since my late father & I served in the military (and I know many others who are serving [or have served] in the military): those who ignore the immigration laws can get medical care while our veterans are struggling to get medical care and end up homeless??? Oh yeah, and might I add that the bureaucrats (high in the chain) are getting bonuses for cooking the books (that means falsifying the financial statements). And let's not forget that our taxpayer dollars are finding their golden parachutes! Is something wrong or am I just losing it?

5. This one makes me laugh: those who are CEO's who own million-dollar companies can bankrupt them and get a bailout (let's not forget Tim
Geitner bankrupt Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac and was appointed in 2009 as Secretary of the Treasurer), but for those of us who work a 9 to 5 job are getting our wages & benefits cut (with no raises in over 5 years).  Is something wrong or am I just losing it?

6. It's been said from the White House that our biggest problem is climate change. Let's see ... Air Force One expels more carbon in a day than most of us will in our lifetime. Is something wrong or am
I just losing it?

7. We fight wars with other people's children since less than 1% of Americans will serve in the military, but we keep sending the same people to take bullets and step on bombs for a foreign policy that punishes countries that are our friends and make peace with countries that are our enemies. Is something wrong or am I just losing it?

8. This statement should touch every mother with children: we let terrorists lose but your kids stand a greater risk of being locked up for a non-violent drug possession. Is something wrong or am I just losing it?

Ok, I've probably said more than enough. So, I close by asking you is something wrong or am I really losing it.


The Mayne Man