I haven’t read much of Max Lucado’s writings… OK I haven’t read anything he has written. But I saw this interview in the Leadership Journal and it has some good stuff.
As a pastor (or leader in general) you have to keep your feet on the ground. You can get knocked off your feet by what people say. When you are the object of bitter (and false) criticism that hurts. But another unexpected danger comes from praise. At some point every pastor will have someone telling them that they are amazing. That “no one preaches like you do,” that “no one else understands.” Its true we need both honest feedback and encouragement, but these two voices are not giving us either of those things.
Max Lucado talks about this danger in his interview. It is easy to think about the danger of critics, and they get a lot of press. But I appreciate the fact that he is dealing with reality on both sides.
Here is a highlight:
“As a pastor, what are some uniquely loud voices that you’re hearing?
“Every time somebody says, “You’re such a wonderful spiritual leader,” there is a temptation to believe that. Because I’m not. I may have a little more experience than they do, but I’m certainly not as good as they’re saying I am. But there’s a temptation to believe that I am. And there is a temptation to believe I am as bad as some people say I am.
“In every church there are naysayers, there are critics, there are unhappy people. I’ve been at this church since 1988. I’m closing in on 30 years, and I still have people who complain and are grumpy and critical. I have to fight that thought: Am I as bad as some people say I am? Those are the two extremes we in ministry really have to struggle with: feeling self-righteous or defeated. Their voices are completely different, but both of them require leaning into the truth. There has never been a Sunday that I’ve driven home from church having preached that I didn’t battle with insecurity.” (Emphasis mine)