Don’t pick fights you can’t afford to win

One of the most important things I have learned about pastoral leadership:

Don’t fight battles you can’t afford to win. 

What I mean is if you think of yourself as the hammer of truth then everything is conflict that needs to be nailed down.

You could succeed and yet lose. 

I once came into an elders meeting 15 min late bc I stopped by the deacon’s meeting first.

I walked into a meeting where the elders were reading a letter authored by one of them criticizing my preaching for being ‘unbiblical’ bc I used illustrations from TV, movies, music, etc 

Caught off guard and feeling VERY threatened by the letter I had not yet read, I went on the attack.

I went through the letter and eviscerated it. The arguments were truly stupid and I made that apparent to everyone in the room.

I won. I won big.

And I made an enemy. 

My victory was not worth the loss of being able to pastor and mentor the elder who did not appreciate my preaching.

Within 18 months he and his family left our church.

I failed by fighting a battle I couldn’t afford to win. 

Yes I was ambushed. And yes, there was more going on than my preaching. It was clearly the beginning of a power play by a ‘clan’ in the church to put the young pastor in ‘place.’

But a pastor must be non-anxious and not ‘trigger happy’ lest friendly fire wound your own.

About PaulVK

Husband, Father of 5, Pastor
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