The life of a church leader is full of ups and downs. It seems like every week is full with lots of decisions to make, and situations to handle.
In the Bible, we see lots of reference about PEACE.
Probably my favorite is John 14:27
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
In a world full of chaos, violence and confusing situations, God’s promise is that we can have PEACE that surpasses all understanding. He even promises that His Peace is able to GUARD our hearts and minds. That’s a powerful promise.
However, while working with church leaders from everywhere, it’s easy to see we don’t always LIVE with that Peace God promises.
Especially during a year like this, with the pandemic of COVID-19, and the way it has shifted our plans in the church-world, there are plenty of things to fret over. There’s also racial tension around the United States, which the enemy wants to use to divide our communities. On top of those things, there’s still the normal challenges in our personal lives, within our marriages, family health concerns, and more.
So, it’s completely understandable that we may find it harder than ever to access this PEACE that God promises to us. But the truth is still true. God’s promises are not weak. He promises that we can experience peace on the inside, even when things are not what we would call “peaceful” on the outside.
Specifically for church leaders, there are some things the enemy wants to use to pile on anxiety and steal the Peace God wants you to live in. Here are:
3 PEACE-STEALERS FOR CHURCH LEADERS
1. Sacrificing Personal Time with God
This is the obvious one. This is the one you’ve probably heard a thousand times. And yet, this is probably the one that is still the hardest. As the world speeds up, our time gets eaten up quicker than ever.
You won’t have very many days where you’re out of things to do. You won’t have very many days that you’re not pulled in several different directions. Your TIME is what will slip away the easiest. As church leaders, right now, we can’t sacrifice our personal time with God.
Time with God is our Fuel. It gives us the encouragement, motivation and spiritual strength we need. It centers us, and points us in the right direction. But without it, we’ll become weaker. Not all at once, but over time, our personal strength will slip, our minds will stray, and our hearts will become heavier and heavier.
The enemy wants to steal our peace, by helping us sacrifice personal time with God.
Don’t let him.
2. Church Finances
This year (2020) has been one of the most difficult years ever on the financial side for churches. Many churches are seeing contributions much lower than their projections for the year. Some of that is simply due to the impact of COVID-19, with families struggling with their own personal finances. So, even if you have a steady group of loyal donors, maybe their personal finances have taken a hit.
I realize money is a touchy subject, but in the life of a church leader, finances matter. Things like salaries, utilities, mortgages and maintenance still have to be paid. Also, there are some new expenses for many churches, such as buying equipment to start an online stream, so the members can worship from home, or additional cleaning of the facilities so people are confident coming back to church in person.
Here are three things that may help you in dealing with the weight of church finances right now:
- Don’t carry the weight of it alone.
- Hopefully, you have a board of trustees, or some kind of team who can talk through the finances with you. If you don’t, I strongly suggest you work toward that. If you do, you should consider meeting MORE than normal. If you usually meet with them every quarter, you may want to consider meeting with them every month right now. This helps you stay on top of the current financial health of the church, and make quicker decisions when needed.
- Make it easy and convenient for people to give.
The reason we push Online Giving here at Faith Teams is because it makes it easier and more convenient for your members to give. This year, there’s an increase in digital giving, which is easy to believe. People aren’t in the church building as much, and they need an easy and convenient way to give.
- `Celebrate the giving you do have
Even if your donations are down this year, don’t let that be the topic of conversation, especially from the pulpit. Instead, celebrate the loyalty of the ones who ARE giving. If you’re doing any outreach, celebrate the fact that you wouldn’t have been able to do that without the faithfulness of the members. What gets celebrated, gets repeated.
The enemy wants to steal our peace, by weighing us down with worry about finances.
Don’t let him.
3. Leading Alone
Here at Faith Teams, we are big believers in the idea of identifying and building up leaders. We believe that everything rises and fall on leadership (as John Maxwell says). With the pandemic, there’s even more pressure of isolation. Some of your key leaders may not feel comfortable coming back to church in person yet. Some of your leaders may be dealing with personal issues. But you still can’t revert to leading alone.
Leading alone is lonely. On the surface, it sometimes feels like it would be easier, but it ends up capping the potential of your church. You end up making all the decisions, thinking through all the problems, and carrying all the weight alone.
It will take more effort, but make sure to stay connected with your leaders, and let them lead with you.
The enemy wants to steal our peace, by tricking us into leading alone.
Don’t let him.
God loves church leaders. He wants us to enjoy our lives as we carry out His plans. But, on the contrary, the enemy HATES us. We are incredibly dangerous in his world, because we are focused on shrinking Hell and enlarging Heaven. If the enemy can steal our peace, he can slow down our progress, and possibly even take us completely out of the game.
Take a look at these three things. Think about other things that may be causing you high levels of anxiety on the inside. Then, be courageous enough to take steps to ` them.
God’s promise is PEACE. I don’t want anything to get in the way of that in my life…or yours either.