The important thing about leadership they didn’t tell you in seminary – Part 1

After years of study, you’ve earned a sheep skin and, some time along the way, a church has ordained you. You’ve been educated and set aside to be a leader in the church. But there’s something important that they probably failed to tell you in seminary that you’re about to learn very quickly by experience.

What is that important, left out tidbit?

It’s this: Serving and leading others will always result in push-back and tension.


There will always be someone like the little five-year-old girl who was having one of those trouble-filled days with her mother. They spent the day arguing back and forth with each other. Finally, the mom had enough.

“Jenny, go sit in the corner, right now!” ordered the exasperated mom. “Don’t get up until I tell you to!”

Jenny went to the corner and sat down. In a few minutes she called back, “Mom, I am sitting down on the outside, but I am standing up on the inside!”

As a spiritual leader, there will always be someone standing up “on the inside” against what you teach, if not literally standing in your face! That’s because as a spiritual leader, you’re trying to motivate others to change, to become more like Christ. Whenever you attempt to move people toward change, you will have some level of resistance, even if that change is completely in their best interest.

In this case, you can’t order them to the corner. But it’s also important you don’t retreat. You need to continue to love them, pray for them, and be steadfast in teaching the truth, even in the face of push-back or the tension it may cause. One of four things will likely be the outcome: 1) They will eventually give way to the truth and move toward change, or 2) they will remain obstinate about changing, but just tune you out and not argue with you, or 3) they will make it a fight against what you teach, and you’ll have to directly address their opposition, or 4) they will go somewhere else.

Not even Jesus could please everyone, even He had those who stood up on the inside and the outside against Him. But Jesus didn’t change His message, but instead. He remained steadfast because of this: “I can do nothing on my own. I judge as God tells me. Therefore, my judgment is just, because I carry out the will of the one who sent me, not my own will,” John 5:30.

As a leader in the church, you need to focus on carrying out the will of the One who sent you, and let God handle the outcome in the lives of others.

Ministry is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, and it will take the work of the Holy Spirit to overcome the push-back people often have to the Word of God. It will take loving others with the love of Christ to work through the tension caused by the challenge to change. And it will take a life of constant prayer to have the wisdom and strength to wade through such resistance.

They probably didn’t tell you this in seminary.

Welcome to the ministry!