People Pleaser or Servant Leader?

Craig Groeschel has some good posts this week about how to avoid being a people pleasing pastor. 

I know very few (if any) pastors who don't struggle with this tendency. Most of us are people people. We love people, we love being around people, and we want other people to want to be around us. There's a part of the nature of every human being that wants to be approved and liked by others. But when it comes down to it, you can't be a people pleaser all the time and be effective in ministry. 

Sometimes people need to hear what they don't want to hear. The people-pleaser in me desperately wants to tell the couple I'm doing premarital counseling with that it's okay to keep living together. They don't need to hear that. The people-pleaser in me beats myself up when people reject Scripture because I didn't communicate it well-enough for them to understand in a positive light. 

There's also a spiritual component to pastors wanting to be a people-pleaser. I think a lot of us have a hard time distinguishing between people-pleaser and servant-leader sometimes. Both are others-oriented and involve self-sacrifice. But it's impossible to truly be a servant leader and people-pleaser

Servant leadership always seeks the long-term good of the people the servant is leading; people-pleasing is primarily concerned with the short-term good. Servant leadership is ultimately others-focused; people-pleasing is almost always rooted in a self-focused insecurity. Servant-leadership sees the model of Christ who served to meet the needs of others; people-pleasing follows the model of the Pharisees, serving to meet our own need to be liked or noticed. 

Servant leadership operates with an eternal perspective. We serve others in such a way that their greatest ultimate needs are met, rather than their (or our) immediate perceived needs. We can't have it both ways. 


Robin Davis said...

Fabulous post and a great reminder not just for pastors, but any and every Christian.

Jay Felker said...

Great post Chris, its a temptation I've been dealing with recently with our High School students, and this is a wonderful reminder that I am properly serving and leading them when I confront them lovingly about their sin, instead of allowing them to continue in it just because I don't want to rock the boat.

By the way, congrats on your Cowboys win on Sunday night. Its a shame that such a talented team will come short of the Super Bowl because of such a bone headed qb. Romo is Favre reincarnated. Get used to dumb turnovers come playoff time...