Leading Even When It Hurts

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You know none of us are immune to pain. Pain is a part of life, and pain always follows leaders. If you are leading people, you are far from immune to pain. In fact, the more you can tolerate pain, the more influence and leadership God will give you because pain always comes with leadership. Sam Chand wrote an entire book on this called Leadership Pain. He shares in the book that leaders are bleeders and if you aren’t bleeding, you aren’t leading.

A lot of you that watch my videos, listen to my podcasts, or read my articles are leading kids and families in the church. I know I have a lot of you that don't work with kids or families in the church; you’re marketplace leaders or you are working in different areas of ministry. I want to share with you a few things that are going to hurt you, especially if you are working with kids or families in the church.

Here are 10 things right out of my book, 10 Sentences to Revolutionize Your Ministry.  I have devoted an entire chapter to this; I talk about 10 prayers that you need to pray everyday as a leader and I expound on them. I really do think they could be game-changers for you. In Chapter 7 the prayer is: Lord help me lead even when it hurts because it is going to hurt. This is especially good for those of you that work with kids or families in the church.

Number 1: there are going to be some kids in your ministry who walk away from the Lord as a teenager or young adult and that hurts.

Number 2: some kids won't listen when you present the gospel and they will reject the good news of Jesus Christ.

Number 3: some of your best volunteers will quit for some reason or other.

Number 4: some of the spiritual leaders in your life will fall into sin. The enemy leaves no one off his radar. As a Christian leader, you have a target on your back.

Number 5: some parents get mad over something seemingly insignificant and will leave the church.

Number 6: some spiritual mentors will let you down. They may not fall into sin, but they will let you down. You have to learn to encourage yourself in the Lord as David did.

Number 7: some significant contributions that you make to your ministry will go unnoticed. No one will say thanks, no one will acknowledge the effort. Some will even criticize you.

Number 8: some will lose a child to death. This is one of the most difficult things about leading a ministry, especially a children's ministry.  

Number 9: some people in your church just won't like you no matter how hard you try; you just won't connect with everyone.

Number 10: some days you'll feel really lonely, you’ll feel left out, you'll feel like you don't have any value. Here are a few more.

Number 11: some people in your church will view children's ministry as childcare, and that hurts. Number 12: some people who are supposed to be your close friends will let you down. It happened to Jesus and it will happen to you.

Life brings pain. If you lead a children's ministry, if you don't lead a children’s ministry, if you’re a marketplace leader, a manager at work, if you own a business, if you're a stay-at-home mom, you have probably figured out that leadership and influencing people and working with people (whether it's the people in your home or the people in your church) bring pain. The good news is that you can choose to grow through the pain.

You will grow to the threshold of your pain. Sam Chand talks about this. You are not going to grow past the threshold of your pain tolerance.  The higher your level of tolerance to pain, the more leadership and influence God will give you. Yes, it hurts to lead sometimes, but it's a sign that you are leading and you are making a difference. If you aren’t bleeding Sam Chand says, you aren’t leading. How's your tolerance to pain? The next time it hurts, remember that God's at work. Lean in on Him and lean in on Holy Spirit for strength, for wisdom, and for power. Ask God for love and grace for the one that has offended you or hurt you. Pray for that person like never before and ask God to make you better through the pain.  

Pain always precedes promotion and when I am hurting, but I grow through it, God will bring me to a new level. I'm sure you've experienced it in your life; let’s experience it some more. None of us want pain; none of us want to invite it into our life, but it's a reality of leading people. Pray that God will give you the strength to grow through the pain and that through the pain, you’ll see people like never before, you'll see your life work like never before, and your influence will grow and go to a whole new level.

Your #1 fan,


Ryan Frank