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The Modern Day Warrior (Pressure is Pressure)

Let’s face facts, we are all going to face some type of pressure in our ministry. How are you reacting to pressure and how do you overcome it?


My nearly-sixteen-year-old daughter’s favorite movie is Braveheart. Naturally, if William Wallace can capture Mackenzie’s heart I want to be all that Wallace is and more. In my more delusional moments I envision myself with a huge sword, blue paint on my face and looking to “pick a fight.” When I return to my senses and look in the mirror, I hardly resemble the Scottish hero.

We all face pressure. What separates good and great leaders from average and failed leaders is how we handle that pressure.

I wonder if that’s who is needed today. As a matter of fact, if I arrived at church on Sunday morning clad in a kilt, swinging a sword, and yelling FREEDOM, it is highly likely that I will be given a very long vacation.

While most leaders long to be as brave as William Wallace, most will not be called upon to face an English sword. (Then again, William never faced an angry church secretary.) Seriously, what does a modern day warrior look like? Underneath all the trappings of a thirteenth-century Scot (1270-1305) or a twenty-first-century church leader … pressure is pressure.

When I say words like courage, risk, abandon, sweat, passion, and sacrifice, I can see myself, and hundreds if not thousands of other church leaders.

We all face pressure. What separates good and great leaders from average and failed leaders is how we handle that pressure.

How about you? What kind of pressure are you under? How are you coping with the debt load of your church? You’ve outgrown your building, so how do you keep growing when you are out of space and short on parking? How are you holding up under the pressure of being way behind in budget and losing some key givers? Then there is the matter of staff. Now there’s a piece of cake without any pressure whatsoever. Remember your youth pastor? What do you mean you aren’t getting along? Then there’s that small group that wants to break away and start their own church. Let’s not go there. One of your trustees is having an affair …OK, enough!

Are you taking care of yourself?
Image: Marcelo Leal

But wait, we haven’t even started on your personal life yet. How are you dealing with the pressure of your family acting more like animals than angels? Your spouse and kids are struggling and demanding more of your time. You want to give them time, but …Then of course you have your health to reckon with. Are you exercising regularly? Are you still eating double-cheese bacon-burgers, fries and topping it all off with ice cream? Your kids are getting close to college age and how are you going to pay for that? And last but not least, being the spiritual leader you are, how well are you doing in your passionate pursuit of God and hearing His clear voice of direction for you and your Church? I have one word for all that. PRESSURE! Like it or not, leaders are called to higher standards than non-leaders. 1 Timothy 3:1-7 gives a good picture of those standards. We are not called to be perfect, but we are called to live lives above reproach and be productive at the same time. Isn’t that the real pressure?

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Category: Ministry, Summer 2019

About the Author: Dan Reiland is executive pastor of 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He is the author of Amplified Leadership: 5 Practices to Establish Influence, Build People, and Impact Others for a Lifetime (Charisma House, 2012), Shoulder To Shoulder Strengthening Your Church By Supporting Your Pastor (Thomas Nelson, 1997), and From a Father's Heart: Letters of Encouragement to Children and Grandchildren (Thomas Nelson, 1999). Twitter: @DanReiland

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