In ministry leadership at times you must make a clear choice. Will I be influential or will I be popular? When both are possible–which is a rare occasion of fortune–you have a windfall of capital to leverage. However, popularity and the power that comes from it is acquired by the minutia of the direction of the wind, and is as fickle as the latest fad. Influence, on the other hand, is based on time and the reputation that results. To maintain popularity requires a crisis management at every threat. To maintain influence simply means you keep a steady hand.
After serving for many years as a staff pastor and leader in the local church, I quickly discovered that what I thought was a purely spiritual activity called ministry required another skill beyond communication, theology, and coaching. Being a politician is how a pastor survives. And, if a pastor survives being a politician perhaps there might be enough left in him to thrive. It takes a navigation in the realm of politicking to remain in the seat or role of a leader, be that youth leader, women’s director, choir director, worship leader, or lead pastor. Many good intentions collide in a church, much like what family life is like. But, as we all now, intent is one thing. How we behave is another.