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Why Do So Many Leaders Refuse to Reach Out?

Ministry can be a dangerous place for many leaders who find the vocation as a place to get their unmet needs met, get attention and look for affirmation. And when we practice vulnerability out of that place, we aren’t being vulnerable at all, but letting out only those parts of ourselves that we aren’t afraid will be rejected or not loved. And what’s even more dangerous, we might not even know that we are doing that. It takes the insight of others around us to point that out in our lives. And it takes courage for us to recognize and acknowledge it.

Four, many ministry leaders who have adopted business practices as the primary lens through which they view success don’t see getting help and counseling as a value. Getting help often is a long journey that can’t be quantified and measured in marketable bullet points. A ministry leader can count numbers of those who attend events, look at their social proof online, but getting help can’t be measured that way. Getting help is not a quick fix, but more of a “long obedience in the same direction.”

I know there are countless other reasons for why many ministry leaders don’t get the help they need. But these are four that came instantly to my mind. Why? Because these are four that I most identify with. As someone who has been in ministry for 18 years, grew up in a pastor’s home and who works with tons of pastors, I have practiced all of these excuses for why I can’t get the help I need. And I will continue to practice them.

So, I’m thankful to those around me who have helped encourage me to get help when I needed it. Thankful for a wife who supports my ongoing growth and desire to get help when needed. Thankful for friends whom I can be vulnerable with and who spot when I’m substituting it with a faux vulnerability. Thankful for a God who loves me for who I am.

Over the last month, I have done two webinars trying to help men become better men, fathers, husbands, friends, colleagues and leaders. I have this desire to see men chart out a vision for their life (because as Proverbs reminds us: people perish without a vision). Without a vision, men perish, as do marriages, families and vocation. I have a desire to also see men connect emotionally at a very deep level. That ability changes lives. I see it too often in my work to know how true it is. And I have a desire to see men take care of themselves so that they can be life givers, rather than life takers.

The webinars had great turnouts, and though I wasn’t totally surprised that a lot of men on there were in ministry, I think I have been a bit surprised that all the men in my new online program are ministry leaders (church planters, pastors, lay leaders, etc.).

What I’m discovering is that there is a huge need out there and I hope that male pastors will get the help they need. And if I can play a small role in that, then I am grateful.

Check out my new webinar designed specifically for male ministry leaders and learn a few strategies that I use with them to help them be the men God created them to be. If you are wondering how you can get help, then sign up for the webinar and let’s connect.

If you are a male ministry leader and you need help, don’t wait to get help. Your life, your family, your friends, your colleagues, your ministry depend on you getting the help you need.

What are some other reasons why you think male ministry leaders don’t reach out to get the help they need?  

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rhettsmith@churchleaders.com'
I'm a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate (MDiv, MSMFT, LMFT-A) and pastor to youth and families. I write about the relationships between psychology, theology and technology.