Recommended Resource: Epic Fail

Have you “failed” in ministry? Are you tired of living up to the expectations that accompany a “Super-Pastor?” Do you long for a place where you can find hope in the midst of your shortcomings and shame?

logoIf so, check out the Epic Fail Pastors Event. This inexpensive two-day conference provides a safe place for you to connect with other leaders who have been similarly broken. But the purpose of gathering is not to whine or complain; rather, it is to find hope through the sharing of your story, time for reflection, space to unwind, and opportunities for laughter, tears and prayer.

The next event will be held April 26-27 at Northern Seminary just outside of Chicago.


Pastors: Chaplains or Leaders?

Mark Galli over at Christianity Today recently wrote a thought-provoking article regarding the roles of pastors. Specifically, he says that we need more chaplains and fewer leaders in pastoral ministry. Out of Ur has also picked up the discussion.

In a recent workshop I led at Denver Seminary, I talked about how there are two dominant stereotypes of pastors, at either end of a spectrum. One is the high-octane, driven, mega-church leader; the other is the quiet, contemplative, small-church pastor. I even used Bill Hybels and Eugene Peterson as my examples, and Galli seems to conjure these exact stereotypes in his article. While I appreciate his challenges, I disagree with some of his assumptions and conclusions.

I’d encourage you to consider your own response to the article. What is your take? Should pastors be chaplains or leaders?

Who’s Interviewing Whom?

It’s no secret that my husband and I are on the job market. He is looking for pastoral positions; I am considering teaching possibilities. Some of you may be in the same boat, looking for your next ministry opportunity.

As we proceed through the various stages of the hiring process, Dave and I need to remind ourselves that we are interviewing these organizations just as much as they are interviewing us. It can be easy to get caught up in, “You like me, you really like me!” and to be more concerned with impressing them than about evaluating whether they are also the right fit for us.

Just as in any relationship, issues that seem like little things now can become big headaches later. Does the organization communicate with you clearly and in a timely manner? What is the pace of the decision-making process? Who is really in charge? What is the dynamic in interviews and other conversations? Do they say things like, “Of course, we’ll take care of that” without providing specific details or deadlines? Have you conducted reference checks on them, talking to previous employees or others who know the inner workings of the organization?

Don’t fall so in love that you view the prospective situation through rose-colored glasses and make yourself susceptible to disappointment based on unrealistic expectations. If you have questions, ask. If you have concerns, bring them up now. What do you have to lose? If your questions cost you the job, then it probably wasn’t the right fit for you in the first place.

The Speed of Trust

Last week I read the book The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey (son of Stephen R. Covey, of Seven Habits fame). Covey asserts, “Nothing is as fast as the speed of trust” to foster open communication, creative collaboration, and even personal energy. I agree wholeheartedly and wrote five years ago about the importance of trust in a series of “Leader’s Insight” columns for Leadership Journal. In my case, Covey is preaching to the choir, which is why I thought the book grew a little tedious at times as he made his argument.

However, a large section of the book includes 13 behaviors that help build what Covey calls “Relationship Trust,” which he differentiates from “Self Trust” (personal credibility) and “Stakeholder Trust” (organizational, market, and societal trust). These 13 behaviors are worth repeating here and have provided a helpful reminder (and, honestly, a bit of a kick in the pants) for my own life and ministry. I’ll let you read the entire book for more detailed explanation of each, but here’s the list:

  1. Talk Straight.
  2. Demonstrate Respect.
  3. Create Transparency.
  4. Right Wrongs.
  5. Show Loyalty.
  6. Deliver Results.
  7. Get Better.
  8. Confront Reality.
  9. Clarify Expectations.
  10. Practice Accountability.
  11. Listen First.
  12. Keep Commitments.
  13. Extend Trust.

All in all, a great read and highly recommended.

How do you need to improve at building trust?