10 Realities You’ll Face as a Church Leader You Never Encountered in the Marketplace

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If you’ve made the move from the corporate office to the church office there are a few surprising leadership challenges in store for you. Don’t let these trip you up.

Leadership in the local church is rewarding, thrilling, high stakes, and often a whole lot of fun.

But at the same time there are unique realities to leading in the local church that you likely have never faced in the marketplace.

From my own experiences in making this move, and from conversations with others who have made the same transition, these are 10 of the biggest leadership challenges you’ll face that you never encountered in the business world…

1.   Hearing a staff person “decline” an assignment, stating that “I just don’t feel a burden for that.”

 2.   Defending a budget when someone in the church business meeting says, “I don’t think Jesus would approve this line item.”

 3.   Having to lay off a staff person, knowing that on Sunday their family will be in their usual seats, third row from the front, left side.

 4.   Always wondering if what you’re enjoying in public could be seen as a “stumbling block” to someone in your church.

 5.   Dealing with the fact that you are being constantly compared to celebrity pastors, former pastors and the pastor across town.

 6.   Having a staff person leave you because they felt “Called to another ministry.”

 7.   Recognizing that while some people don’t know what you do all week, they nonetheless believe you should be on call 24-7.

 8.   Wondering how spiritually shallow you must be to still compare your attendance figures with other churches.

 9.   Trying to look happy at the discovery that another church couple is staying at the same, tiny, out-of-the-way resort you and your spouse picked for your vacation.

 10.               Trying to smile when someone on Sunday says, “Well pastor, at least you gave it a good try this morning.”

Don’t let these challenges scare you off. As mentioned, leading in the local church can be hugely rewarding. But there are unique challenges.

So face them, stare them down, and push through them.

The rewards are well worth it.

What would you add to the list?


the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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