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A Sobering Reality for Pastors and Leaders

A Sobering Reality for Pastors and Leaders

There is a sobering reality every pastor and leader needs to understand. Knowing this one can protect your career—help keep you from burning out—and guard your heart.

I see this impact leaders from all generations—but, I must be honest—I probably see it even more in our youngest generation of leaders entering the workforce.

You ready for the sobering reality? The longer you do what you do well, the less praise you’ll receive for it.

Have you experienced it? If you don’t understand this principle, you’ll often feel disappointed—like no one cares—like they didn’t even notice the good work you are doing.

The fact is, everyone loves to praise the new guy—the guest appearance—the surprise home run.

(One of my favorite examples—the guest speaker who has delivered the same message 42 times and has gotten really good at it. Everyone says “best sermon ever.” Of course—they have practiced it a few times.)

But, when you’ve been there a while—when you try to do well every week—when you hit home runs almost every time up to bat—people stop cheering as loudly.

Once you do exceptional for very long, it becomes the new norm.

It’s expected. It is now your new average. Everyone expects you to be wonderful—every time. They’ve gained a certain confidence in your ability.

And, you can naturally expect to hear less approval. Less “good jobs.” Less “that was amazing” comments.

It’s not necessarily that you aren’t doing a good job anymore. You’ve simply set a new bar of expectation.

Of course, part of improving is to continually raise our own bar of expectations, but if you’re realizing this sobering reality—you’ve done something right.

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Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping churches grow vocationally for over 10 years.