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Flourishing in Ministry…It’s all about Relationships!

Kieshnick quote

Is your ministry life-enriching or life-depleting?

Congregational leadership can flourish…be life-enriching and not life-depleting…when four types of relationships are well according to Bloom’s Flourishing in Ministry project. While this was a clergy study, you’ll find easy application to whatever your role.

We termed it Collegiality last week. 

Here are the four critical relationships:

  • Family and Personal Friends
  • Congregation members
  • Formal and informal leaders within the denomination or judicatory
  • Fellow pastors

Isolation is a killer for clergy and any of the rest of us in leadership.

“In the Philippines pastors and spouses are isolated by geography and difficulty of travel between islands. They’re excited to be here and learning biblical leadership but they’re also excited to be together. In the U.S., pastors and spouses are often equally isolated but not by geography and travel.” Scott Rische, PLI’s International Director

So, a few comments on each of the relationship areas.

Congregation Members

Here’s two quotes from Bloom that speak to the staggering impact this can have on clergy, and I would add spouses.

“Fostering positive relationships with the congregation that the pastor serves would …increase the well-being of virtually every pastor.” … “Pastors flourish when they feel they belong… when they feel accepted, affirmed, and cared for by their local congregation.”

Leaders (formal and informal) within the denomination/judicatory

Bloom notes that many pastors feel excluded and not accepted by leaders by subtle and not so subtle cues they receive. Every pastor (and spouse) needs someone in the system that can say to them: “Thanks for what you’re doing. You count. I value you and the sacrifices that you’re making.”

Fellow Pastors

Friendship. Collegiality! In some circles, it’s difficult for pastors to find other pastors with whom they feel safe. Bloom terms it finding others with “a deep similarity.” Antiquated structures no longer provide it. It can’t be imposed from the outside. There’s an organic nature to this.

(We’ll save the marriage and family relationship too often sacrificed in the name of ministry for a future time.)

Two comments and two questions!

  1. You can always tell who the leaders are. They’re the ones who aren’t blaming someone else for what’s not right! So, if you need to improve an area above? Don’t stop at complaining. Take action yourself.
  2. When leaders aren’t doing well… congregations don’t do well either! And the mission of God suffers most.

Two questions:

  1. Where do you need to take action?
  2. Who could benefit…now!…from a touch from you?

Gail and I are blessed to have you in the PLI family. We believe in you or we wouldn’t do what we do. Thanks for leading and serving and seeking to reach a broken world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“PLI is not just a training program. It’s an immersion in an experiential learning that builds community; bolsters hope and brings enormous encouragement and challenge all at the same time that it delivers on critical leadership competencies and skills.” Dr. Justin Hannemann, GracePoint Relational Health

One Response

  1. Well stated, as usual, Jock. The Body of Christ is nothing but relationships. We find that where trust, respect and love are strong in congregations and within ministry teams, Satan cannot “get a foothold” (Ephesians 4) and ministry flourishes. Thanks for all you do to help build healthy congregations!

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