Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Disappointing People As Best You Can!

Reading time: two minutes. Here’s another summertime wellness nugget, this one from Ronald Heifitz and Marty Linsky in “Leadership on the Line”: “Leadership is disappointing people at a rate they can absorb.” It’s the nature of ministry that people will have extraordinarily, even unreasonable, expectations of those in the office.  No one could be expected to accomplish everything most churches demand them, or excel at the widely varied tasks of the calling.  We in ministry are compared unfairly with others, from the pastor down the street to the hundreds with TV shows and the thousands with blogs. Here are a couple of suggestions for doing the best job you can of disappointing people; and by that I mean surviving people’s expectations and continuing to thrive in ministry. Build as much trust and confidence with members of the congregation you serve by going the extra mile whenever you can.  When those we serve see that our passion for the Lord’s work is matched by our commitment to showing up and going above and beyond the call of duty, we create “ministry bank accounts.”  Our failures will cost us, and withdrawals will be made from our accounts, but our extra efforts will result in deposits. Establish boundaries so that the extra mile doesn’t turn into a marathon.  Know your capacity for ministry activity, and your family’s capacity for your absence, and stay within those boundaries whenever possible.  Usually it’s more possible than we would think.  Peoples’ ability to absorb disappointment is often pretty high. Have the important conversations about your limitations and your boundaries.  The congregation will respect you for initiating a dialog about your willingness to do the best you can with what you have, but that you don’t have every gift, every skill, unlimited time and boundless energy for the tasks at hand.  Keep that conversation going perpetually. Remember that we operate with grace, and ask for it.  Sometimes the best way to teach people the nature of grace is to be a living embodiment of someone who depends entirely on both the grace of God and the patience of the members of the body of Christ. I love the Office of Compline in LSB where the worship leader first asks for and receives grace and absolution from the congregation before hearing and responding to their confession.  Trust, respect and love for one another, and our mutual reliance on the Lord’s forgiving love, is the foundation for life together in ministry. That’s why I think “disappointing people at a rate they can absorb” is a pretty solid metaphor for life together in the Lord’s Church.  Maybe that would be a good prayer for convention week! Thanks for reading. Our ministry is made possible by the generous donations of people just like you. Click here to discover how simple it is to make your gift of any size to Grace Place Wellness. Do you know someone who might be interested in becoming a major benefactor to sponsor a retreat in your area? Our President/CEO Randy Fauser would love to hear from you today!