Pastors and ministry leaders, your strengths, gifts, and talents–all of the things that make you well-suited for your particular calling–have a flip-side to them, and it’s crucial that we understand that flip-side because just as our gifts can bring us success, their flip-side can be our undoing. And by the way I’m not talking about sin–these flip-sides aren’t inherently sinful, they’re simply the other edge that allows our gifts to cut two ways. On the one hand they make us effective as servant-leaders, but on the other hand they make us vulnerable to mindsets, hurts, and habits that can undermine the very work that we’re attempting to accomplish.
For instance, if you are a gentle, caring pastor–which most pastors probably are–then you will not only be able to empathize with your people, and love them deeply, but you might also be more vulnerable to hurt feelings and discouragement when relationships don’t work out well. Conversely, if you are a strong, visionary leader, then it’s possible that you may have to work harder at remembering the relationships in your ministry in addition to the mission of your ministry–it’s easy to dream about winning the world while inadvertently overlooking the people we currently have.
Regardless of your personal gift-mix, it might be helpful to spend a little time considering what the other edge to that gifting may be. If your flip-side makes you intimidating or unapproachable, you’ll want to know that and compensate for it, and if it makes you a little thinner-skinned and vulnerable to criticism, you’ll want to reinforce that with prayer, perspective, and encouragement.
We need you, and we’re going to need you for the long haul. And one of the things that might help you to make it for the long haul is for you to live in your strength zones, while being mindful of the flip-side of those strengths, gifts, and talents.
You are loved!