Being a leader can be very rewarding and fulfilling. It can also be a source of frustration and extra stress. In other words, leadership can be very draining - spiritually, emotionally and physically.Frustrations of A Life Group Leader
What are some of the possible frustrations that we can encounter as Life Group leaders? Some examples include: poor attendance, difficult or "problem" people, time pressures - busyness or tiredness, no numerical growth or no new people, low commitment -unreliable people, disinterested Life Group members or conflict.
These things all add up and often they're enough to discourage even the most motivated leader and to even push us to the point of wanting to quit.Paul's Frustrations
As we read the Bible, we see a wonderful honesty and vulnerability from God's leaders. They openly share both the joys and the pressures of ministry. Just ask Paul, Peter or James!
What were some of Paul's pressures and frustrations? Persecution, beatings, riots, imprisonments, being flogged and stoned, being hard pressed through troubles, distresses, sleepless nights and hunger, being perplexed through life threatening situations, such as being shipwrecked, in danger, cold and naked, being hatred by others who told lies about him and experiencing the defection of team members (see Acts 20:22-24. 2 Cor.4:8-9, 16-18; 6:3-10; 7:5-6; 11:23-29; 12:7-10. 2 Tim.3:10-12; 1:15).
How did Paul respond to these pressures? He refused to quit or give up (2 Cor.4:8-9,16-18). He said, "None of these things move me" (Acts 20:22-24. NKJV). He determined to "stay the course" and finish the race God had given him to run. Paul also told his young leaders to "endure hardship" (2 Tim.2:1; 4:5).Observations about "Pressure"
As Christians, and especially as leaders, we should expect times of pressure and difficulty in life and ministry (Acts 14:22. 1 Peter 4:12). Jesus never said that life or ministry would be easy, so we shouldn't be surprised by various kinds of trials (Mt.24:9-13. Jn.16:33)
The test of a leader's true character is often seen by how they respond under pressure or during times of crisis (Jn.10:11-13).
"Hard times" have the potential to make us stronger as men and women or God, if we respond correctly to them.
- They stretch us beyond our current capacity (2 Cor.1:8).
- They cause us to realise our total dependence on God (2 Cor.1:8-9).
- They help us appreciate the difficulties that others experience, often resulting in greater empathy and compassion (2 Cor.1:3-7).
- They help us learn things we would not learn otherwise (James 1:2-8).
James tells us to consider it "pure joy" when we face trials of many kinds. Why? Because you can't be mature without having a spirit of perseverance that refuses to quit or give up. This enduring quality is the mark of maturity. Once you have this, you are complete, not lacking anything. Immaturity demands for everything to go well all the time. The only thing that produces perseverance is the testing of our faith. Untested faith will not develop this important quality. Therefore, we should so value perseverance that we consider it a joy when we go through trials that test our faith! Joy is only possible if we keep the end in mind (Heb.12:1-2).
Don't pray for an easy Life Group. Pray to be a strong leader!Possessing the Power to Persevere
- Know that God has called you (2 Tim.1:9)! If he has called you, then he wants you to succeed, not to fail (Is.41:10).
- Understand that God loves you and his love is not based on your performance or positive circumstances (Rom.5:8; 8:35-39).
- Believe that God is in control, that he is fully aware of your situation and that he will bring something good out of your current situation (Rom.8:28). God knows, God cares and he is willing to help you through. Trust in God.
- Ask God for wisdom as to how you should respond (Jam.1:5). Be solution orientated. Don't just focus on the problem or the negative situation. Look to God for an answer and a positive outcome.
- Pray for God's strength. Know that his grace is "sufficient" or more than enough for what you are going through right now (2 Cor.12:7-10).
- Share your need with faith-filled friends (2 Cor.7:5-6). People rarely quit simply because of adversity, but rather because of the lack of encouragement during times of adversity.
- Continue doing good (1 Cor.15:58). God wants active perseverance, not passive indifference!
David had many mighty warriors who did exploits beyond him (see 2 Sam.23:8-23. 1 Chron.11:11-47). One raised his spear against 800 men and killed them all. Another stood his ground against the Philistines when all the men of Israel retreated. He kept fighting even until his hand grew tired and froze to the sword. Another one named Shammah took his stand in the middle of a field of lentils, even when Israel's troops fled. He defended it and struck down the Philistines, God helping him bring about a great victory.
They were "mighty" because of their courage in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and in their ability to persevere (not give up) even under intense attack. It mentions nothing about their size of physical strength, only about their intense tenacity and great courage.
Sometimes, it's easy to quit and give up. Have the courage, determination and commitment to finish. Don't quit! Yes, God may be leading you into a different season but make sure it is God and not just a spirit of discouragement that is causing you to throw in the towel. The Christian life is a marathon, not a 100-metre sprint. It's not how fast you run, but how long you last.