Are You A People Pleaser Ministry?

In the 1941 classic Citizen Kane we follow the death of the wealthy and powerful publisher Charles Foster Kane.  Throughout the movie we learn that Kane’s mission isn’t about making money but seizing control and favor from his friends, family and the public.  As you can probably guess, it didn’t end well.

Now, most of us aren’t like Citizen Kane where we’ll take down the opposition to be loved and adored by so many people.  But, it’s something we want because it feels good to be loved by others.  It always feels good to complimented, to get the attention and to be appreciated.  So as pressure builds and while we might not go to every length to gain popularity, we tend to act a little different, we find ourselves:

  • Constantly Apologizing – If a parent didn’t like the way I did ministry, I apologized. If a minister got mad at me for something he/she did, I apologized.  I constantly apologized because I didn’t want people to hate me.  When you find yourself apologizing because of how people view you and not because you are truly sorry all you are trying to do is make them like you.  
  • Striving For Perfection Instead Of Excellence – We can’t confuse the value of excellence with perfectionism.  Excellence comes from striving to do your best, perfectionism is impossible to achieve unless your God Himself.  You need to let your team grow and go on their own.  You need to let others make decisions even if you disagree with them.  When we fear failure it means we fear what others will think about us if we don’t meet their expectations.  
  • Saying Yes To Everything And No To Nothing – No is one of the most powerful words we can learn in ministry.  It prevents us from putting too much on our plates and it slows us down from jumping into a project too quickly.  Saying yes isn’t evil; but, when it’s all we say it means we are just saying what people want us to hear.
  • Over Promising – We convince ourselves that if we promise people the best experience of their life they will surely come to our ministry.  I’m not saying we should undersell our ministry, but be careful to set false expectations.  The best and most authentic way to sell your ministry is through your vision statement.  Share the vision with your ministers, share it with parents and teens and you’ll find yourself drawing people to something greater than a program.  People want to be a part of a great vision, so spend your time crafting the vision of your ministry and share it.

It’s sad to say, but we can’t be liked by everyone.  There are going to be controllable and incontrolable circumstances that will dictate the outcome.  The best thing we can do is look to God, practice being authentic and set our priorities.  Ministry isn’t a popularity game, it’s a mission to share with other’s God’s Truth and then it’s up to them follow.
What else do we do to be liked by others?

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  • Preach it, Chris…this has been one of my biggest downfalls in ministry, and a huge area of growth. The perfection vs excellence distinction is huge.

    On the last point, my college pastor gave me a word of advice when I graduated and began my path to being a pastor: “Under-promise and over-deliver.” When we over-promise, we’re trying to impress. But when we over-deliver, we’re being faithful.

    Have a great Sunday!

  • Benjer,

    Thanks for the feedback. What gets me tripped up is when I need to be MORE of a servant leader and when I need to be LESS of a “Yes” man. Again what do others do to be liked?