People Pleaser or Leader?

I love to please people!  All my life, I have wanted people to like me, affirm me, and generally think that I’m wonderful.  As I have matured as a leader and as a pastor, I’ve discovered that I have to sometimes set those desires aside and do the right thing regardless of what other’s think.  My goal MUST NOT be to simply “please people” — my goal must be to help people.  Sometimes I have to set boundaries and tell people “no” in order to help them.  Other times I have to model a new approach and lead people to walk in a more effective, efficient manner.

Everyone seems to have their idea of what I should do as a pastor and how I should use my time.  Hardly a week goes by, that someone does not pull me aside and share with me their personal assignment for my life.  Most of the time, the assignment is fair and reasonable, but it almost always matches their personal preferences and desires.  As the senior pastor I MUST consider the big picture and keep the entire church body in mind as I lead.  If I simply jump from personal assignment to personal assignment, I will not lead with vision and God-given direction.

Here are the 5 promises I made to the church during my first sermon as senior pastor on November 2, 2008:

  1. I promise to love God.  In order to fulfill this promise, I must be disciplined in my private time with the Lord.  The man who never spends time with God in private is no good in public. 
  2. I promise to love my family.  I love to work hard and I love being a pastor (most the time).  Because of this, I have to guard against neglecting my family.  I have asked other staff members to tell me if they see this in my life and I have pledged to tell them if I see it in their lives.
  3. I promise to love you.  I love Shelbyville First Baptist Church and all our people.  I look forward to serving our Lord together for many years to come.  Keep in mind that all our pastors love God and love our people.
  4. I promise to love the unchurched.  I want to see people come to Christ.  I need to spend more time around lost people.  I need to get out of the office more and into the community.
  5. I promise to preach the Bible.  I have tried my best to focus on God’s Word in my sermons and in my teaching.  It takes time to prepare true, Biblical sermons, but it is worth all the hard work and extra effort.  Currently, I set aside Tuesday and Wednesday as my main study days.  Occasionally, I will schedule an appointment or meeting on those days, but I try to devote those days to preparation for preaching and teaching the Bible.

As we move forward, I pledge to always be open to suggestions and ideas.  My default of wanting to please people will always be there, I’m sure.  But, I promise when I’m faced with the choice of “simply pleasing someone” or “providing Godly leadership,” I will strive to choose providing Godly leadership every time.

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Comments

  1. Pastor Steve,

    When I was principal at Shelby County High School for 13 years, I tried to be, at first, all things to all people–1800 students, approx. 900 sets of parents, 85 faculty members, 25 staff members, my church, my community, my family, and probably in that order for about 5 years. I soon realized that my family was getting the short end of the deal and I made it a priority to not let that happen any longer. Some people were angry that I did not give their agendas priority time according to their schedule. However, I never have once regretted getting that fixed. You owe it to your family and to you to not try and meet everybody’s expectations. When I got my family and church up at the top of my priorities, after some rather unpleasant situations, life became much more blessed and worth living. I’m glad that you have too discovered this. Have a good day. Sam

  2. Hi, I believe you are a sincere, pastor. I believe you do love God and your family. I believe you do a great job preaching. You always have a smile. Thanks for all you and your family do. Donna and Steve

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