by Pastor Mark Wargo
Lead Pastor at Cross Current Church, Port Huron, MI
Author of "Beyond Betrayal - No More Broken Churches"
One of the biggest detriments for all leaders is the trap of the fear of man or people pleasing. I have found that many, if not all, church leaders have struggled with this at some point in their leadership tenure. The biggest challenge typically comes in their earlier years of leading, but when not dealt with has the potential to derail and destroy any leader. It’s an area that Father wants to help his leaders grow through and He will use anyone and anything to help us get over it. The bible tells us that the fear of man will prove to be a snare and if you have experienced this at all, you know that this is true!
Prov 29:25 Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.
The fear of man, or people pleasing is the obsession of what others think about you. Many times, a leader who is a people pleaser is so overly concerned about the people they are leading that they can miss the direction of God completely. It’s when a leader says ‘yes’ when he really feels to say ‘no’ or visa versa. You know the decision to make and yet you won’t because of fear. A leader who strives to please people more than Father can have an appearance of ministry momentum, but the fear of man proves to be a snare and eventually you will see that you are trapped in it. Been there, done that!
If you’re going to lead your people and advance the congregation the right way, you must overcome the traps of people pleasing: Here are some practices to help you.
* Trust what you feel:
You don’t need everybody in your corner. You just need the right people. You’ll find out who the right people are when you step out and do what Father is leading you to do to. Point: People may have hired you at a church, but they did not call you or anoint you for the task. God did that so trust what He is leading you to do. Don’t allow the voices and approval of people dictate your leadership. What I have found many times is that the biggest cheerleaders are the ones that will leave you when you stop the fear of man! And there will always be those who will leave you badly and there will always be those who love you greatly.
* No Fear Allowed:
When I was in the season of breaking the people pleasing, I posted a sign in my office that said ‘No Fear Allowed’. This was a reminder to me that fear would no longer dictate what kind of leader I would be. I find that leaders who are people pleasers are inundated with fear. Fear of man. Fear that if one gets upset and leaves, that everybody will. Fear of making wrong decisions. Fear that lack of confidence within will be exposed, etc. We all have to wrestle down the fear issue. Make the decision today that you will no longer allow fear to dictate your leadership.
* Be Secure:
Leaders who are people pleasers are insecure. The lie is that with more and more people agreeing with us, the more secure we as leaders will be. That is not the truth. It is only a façade. Don’t base your security on how much people like you, but on how much Father loves you. God’s plan is that His leaders would be secure in their calling. Insecure leaders are wishy-washy leaders and people really want a leader they can trust. Stand up today, see Father looking over you. Be secure in being a son/daughter today.
Advancing congregations begins with us as leaders. As we become healthier, we will lead healthier, and the people can become healthier.
You got this!
Eric Reeder is joined by other leaders of RISEmovement to reveal the heartbeat of The HOPE-filled Gospel.