This past week, it happened again. Only this time, it didn’t hurt like it has in the past. I was teaching at our Community-wide Bible Study and it was time to go to our “Encouragement Groups” where we discuss the questions that I have written to go along with the lesson. This time, I decided to be a part of a group on the other side of the room that I have not been in before. As I joined the group, the facilitator made several comments about me being in the group and how much pressure she would now feel to do a good job. I graciously assured her that I knew she would do a good job and that I was there to discuss the questions along with everyone else, not evaluate her performance.
For leaders, these types of comments can be regular occurrences. I remember several years ago, after church one Sunday, our family went out to eat and ran into two other families who were already seated and eating. As we walked over to greet them, they said, “Now we have to be good since the pastors are here.” Those words stung, because we were going to greet them as people, not pastors. We weren’t there as the morality police, just a family wanting to join others for a meal together.
In the past, hurt feelings were common for me in these types of situations, especially since I have made a concerted effort to be approachable and friendly with everyone I come in contact with. I then realized that “It’s the position, not the person” that people are intimidated by. I can be as down to earth as anyone, yet because there is a position of authority associated with me that position gets in the way, and can cause a feeling of discomfort for others. Once I came to that realization, I was able to not take comments as personally. Therefore, when my friend said what she did when I joined her group at Bible Study, I was able to remind myself that it’s my position as a leader that she was commenting upon, not who I am as a person.
For me, half the battle of being successful in the ministry God has called me to has been accepting my role and position. I did not ask for this position, but God called me to fill it. When I walk in obedience to His calling, there is great blessing that comes as a result. I don’t have to apologize or feel bad because he has called me to be a leader. As I have learned to accept the authority that comes with what He has called me to do, I can graciously respond to any comment that is made, reassuring people of my belief in them and the role God has called them to fill. I then get to focus on becoming a genuinely kind and loving person who just happens to have a position as well.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You have called me to be a leader. Even though leaders are often misunderstood, help me to be genuine and approachable. When comments are made about me, help me to remember that people are commenting on my position, not who I am as a person. I re-commit myself to serving you by serving others. In Jesus’ Name and for His sake, Amen.
Your Friend in Ministry,