You will notice, as a leader, that your struggle with your insecurities can “come and go.” You will likely feel as if you’ve won the war during times of success or popularity among the people you lead. However, insecurity raises its ugly head most often in times when you feel intimidated in certain situations.
By understanding when a pastor is most susceptible to insecurity, we can gain the opportunity to address those fears before they materialize into their most powerful forms. So, when will a pastor most likely face such feelings?
- CRITICISM & REJECTION
—When colleagues or subordinates attack your performance or character.
Ever notice how easy it is to feel rejection when a family decides to attend another church? There are many moments where a pastor can feel rejected, so this situation often raises its ugly head.
- MEETING SOMEONE IMPORTANT
—When you’re first introduced to someone you feel you must impress.
This can arise from meeting a well-known ministry leader, authority figure in your denomination, or anyone we might believe is more important than we are.
- FAILURE AT AN ASSIGNMENT
—When you fail to reach a goal or standard, and you take it personally.
The goal of the outreach was to connect with 50 people, but only five showed up, or worse, nobody from the congregation came to help. Any time ministry effort doesn’t meet expectations, pastors are susceptible to feelings of failure as a leaders.
- A COLLEAGUE’S SUCCESS
—When a peer achieves notoriety and reward for their own success.
We want to celebrate with another pastor when his goals are met or he is rejoicing over a particularly effective Sunday, but somehow his success magnifies our own feelings of inadequacy. Surely, that shouldn’t be, but…
- UNRECOGNIZED ACHIEVEMENT
—When people you respect fail to notice your own success and accomplishment.
Ever heard your state leader bragging over the efforts of another pastor and wished he knew your success story too? Or maybe the state event used someone else’s worship team and you are convinced that your team is better. Many pastors operate in hidden places so this situation can arise frequently for them.
- PERSONAL LOSS
—When people & resources you’ve relied upon are taken away.
How do you celebrate the promotion that’s taking one of your strongest families to another state? How personal is it for you when people leave your congregation for “greener pastures.”
- REFLECTING ON AN UNFAIR PAST
—When you become melancholy about your own victimized, unjust background.
Now this doesn’t mean you were once a victim of abuse (though it could). Instead, this can be as simple as focusing on the limitations of your situation—we don’t have the people we need, the building we need, the finances we need, to do what others are doing.
Each of these moments—and most occur multiple times in a pastor’s life—open the door to insecurity. And when they come (sometimes more than one at the same time), we find ourselves susceptible to the behaviors we have discussed in our last few blogs.
Next time, we begin the discussion of how to overcome our insecurities and how we can begin moving in a stronger direction.