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Can Pastors Get Their Groove Back?

One of the side effects of the past three years of my life, and especially the closing of the church, is I have lost my mojo.

Yes, believe it or not, pastors have mojo, and/or swagger. We usually spiritualize it to some degree and call it “anointing” or “gifting,” but in essence, it is that confidence pastors have in their skills and abilities that allows them to minister more effectively and inspire others to greater faith.

I used to have quite a bit of that swagger a few years ago, finding confidence in my abilities as a preacher, musician and leader, enough to inspire me to start my own church, and even convince others to join me as well.

I have tried to use those skills to their very utmost, paired with hard work and a lot of prayer, and yet here I am, trying to graciously guide our church into its final week. So you can understand why I have far less confidence in those particular skills any longer.

I also realize this acutely as I look at the various job descriptions for pastor positions, and the list of expectations candidates are expected to meet.

I see often the pastor will be expected to help the congregation achieve the next level of growth and maturity, and I know that is much more difficult than it sounds, and doubt I can accomplish such a feat.

One listing stressed the need for organizational and logistical skills, stating a corporate background in managing was highly suggested, an MBA preferred. I couldn’t even keep together a church of 40 people—how in the world would I be able to manage a church double, or triple, in size?

Another church said they were looking for an “ideater,” or someone to help cast a compelling vision for the church. I didn’t even know “ideater” was a word, and I’m quite sure I don’t know how to “ideate,” or whatever the verb form of that word might be.

Regardless of whether I can or cannot accomplish these expectations, I don’t feel like I can.

And often, if you don’t feel like you can do something … you’re right, because a lack of confidence creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is a disheartening realization, especially when you are on the job hunt and are supposed to be projecting an image of someone with supreme self-assurance, confident in his or her ability to get things done.

Instead, the struggles I and our church experienced have made me inadequate and doubtful of my finer abilities as a pastor, the finer abilities it seems that churches want.

But at the same time, I have come to realize that, although I have lost my confidence in my abilities, I have not lost confidence altogether.

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peterchin@churchleaders.com'
Peter Chin is husband to a courageous breast cancer survivor, father to four beautiful children, and pastor of an inner city church in Washington D.C. He is currently working on publishing a memoir of his family's experience with church planting, pregnancy, and cancer. You can follow his blog at www.peterwchin.com, or on Twitter at @peterwchin.