Are you a people pleasing pastor? I based my third book, People-Pleasing Pastors: Avoiding the Pitfalls of Approval Motivated Leadership, on significant research around people pleasing. As a scripturally based book, it incorporated fascinating insight about how our brain influences our leadership and our tendencies to appease and please others in unhealthy ways. To discover how pervasive people-pleasing is in the ministry I gathered research from two sources. I contracted Lifeway Research to survey over 1,000 pastors about people pleasing and I added to this research the results of a similar online survey of 1,200 pastors I did for a total of over 2,200 pastoral responses. In this post I’ve created a simple self-evaluation for pastors to determine how much people pleasing affects them.
My research revealed that 70 percent of pastors agreed that people pleasing affects their lives and ministries at some level. In the online survey, I included an option for pastors to anonymously tell their people pleasing stories. I got 100 pages of heart wrenching stories, single-spaced!
Here’s one pastor’s sad story.
In a church that I pastored, there was a major power struggle with several members who remained very close friends with the previous pastor who actively worked to wield control through these members. I often felt unable to measure up, always trying to ‘minister’ to these folks in hopes that I could win them over, and yet being angry that I couldn’t. After two years I left the church and left the ministry. And I felt like a failure as a pastor and as a husband/father.
Is being a people pleasing pastor affecting your ministry?
How many did you check? If you checked…
- 1-3: People-pleasing could become a growing issue in your leadership unless you do something soon.
- Keep this issue in prayer and stay vigilant of your tendency in the area(s) you checked.
- 4-6: People pleasing is most likely hindering your leadership and may get worse.
- Find a safe, wise leader in your church or a local pastor with whom you can confidentially share your struggle. Become accountable to him so you can stop unhealthy people pleasing before it gets out of hand. See my blog here on what to look for in a safe person.
- 7-10: You’re probably angry, anxious and fearful most of the time and people pleasing is clearly hurting your leadership.
- Consider seeing a good counselor who can help you ferret out the cause and help you lead less from an approval motivation.
As you deal with your pleaser tendencies, consider this verse.
The fear of human opinion disables… (Prov 29.25, The Message)
How have you seen people-pleasing tendencies affect your or others’ ministries?
You can learn more about the book here and view a cool animated video trailer of the book.
“People pleasing in the ministry: I just took an interesting assessment on people pleasing.” (tweet this quote by clicking here)
This article originally appeared here.