Unchallenged Incompetence in Ministry?

SurprisedWell…I am working my new job (posted below is a bit of a reflection on my new professional journey) and it dawned on me that I have to hit some professional "objectives" and goals (essentially numbers) pretty quickly in order to make an income.  Bottom line, there are a few things that I have to do…have a growing number of leads, appointments and presentations…I have to have a set number of "closings" in order to be able to count on a specific level of income.  NOW, I want you (dear reader who dares to indulge in this blogging idiocy – specifically MY idiocy) to know that these realities have never been outside of my consciousness…I’ve always had personal performance goals and working objectives for what I did professionally.  In the recent journey of the Youth Leadership Institute, Sally and I were very specific on how many students we wanted to have assembled for our conferences…in the APU class journey, I wanted to be an effective and "popular" teacher so that I could help the school with enrollment numbers…even in the church I had my own goals.  The only problem I saw in ministry as I did it over the span of 30 years is how often leaders had NO objectives…in other words, there was an "unchallenged incompetence" that was acceptable in ministry.  Many leaders would NOT grow in their professionalism…many leaders would NOT read new books that would stretch their mind and heart…many leaders would NOT look at the viability of the programs in the church with the expressed purpose of eliminating those that we ineffective…in fact, many leaders did NOT even challenge organizational systems in the local church that muddied the effectiveness of being responsive to the specific needs that were surfaced by the church’s vision and ministry/mission purpose.  In other words, effectiveness and growing professionalism was sacrificed in the name of "Christ" and "Christian love"…in other words, no one ever seriously looked at the truth…there are many many many (did I say "many") churches that are simply "skating" through life…there are many church leaders who are simply getting a paycheck and asking for more than next year and NOTHING, absolutely nothing changes.  They just keep dong the same thing over and over expecting different results (see Scott Peck on that one).  What do you think?  Is it just me?  More to come…unchallenged incompetence…mmm, I like that phrase the more I think about it.  No wonder so many people are tired of church life…it is the only place where many of them see what most of them don’t see anywhere else but in church life.  Like I said, more to come…

2 thoughts on “Unchallenged Incompetence in Ministry?

  1. I think this is a good point and is something I’ve been looking at also in terms of teaching. In my studies, I am often faced with the question of why the arts are so marginalized. Why is it that students see the Art class as the easy A or the social hour and I find that a lot of it has to do with the lack of challenge presented by teachers. It is easy in an art class to let the students run the game because we don’t want to step on toes or insult someone’s creativity. But unfortunately, what seems to happen is that teachers do not do the hard work of engaging students in deep ways– they fail to see all the “learning objectives” that need to be explained in the art class.

    I think you make an excellent point here, especially in context of what you have done through YLI and your classes, that personal development feeds directly into your action in the world. If you are not challenging yourself personally, what do you expect to be flowing out of you?

    Anyway, I will be interested to see how things progress as you work through your new endeavor and how you can take all the wisdom you have gleaned up in your life to something so new!


  2. Amen Brother! I couldn’t agree more. I’m not sure how it became spiritual to be content with stagnation, or how pastors became so proud they no longer felt there was anything to learn.

    “Bring on the learnin’ baby, cause I gotta grow.”

    Wow! That was a really odd thing to write. 🙂


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