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Leadership reflections: Beware of becoming jaded

Leadership Reflections 013

Over the last few years we have all heard and processed news of leaders who have fallen short of the high standards that are laid out in the Bible. For many of us these instances have been upsetting, painful and heartbreaking. We share those feelings of pain at the abuse, ill treatment and hurt that has been experienced around the Church.

It’s caused Debby and me to reflect again, with some of our team, on the leadership lessons we can learn in this moment; lessons for our own churches and those across the wider Vineyard family here in the UK and Ireland. 

This series of Leadership Reflections contains some teaching and lessons which we have shared with Vineyard Senior Pastors over the last few years.  As we continue to listen and learn from this season, we wanted to open these resources up to anyone who would find them helpful by publishing them publicly.

Our prayer is that you might find these helpful and by the grace of God, together we can create churches that are safe, Kingdom-centred communities for us all to call home.    

John & Debby Wright

National Directors

Vineyard Churches UK & Ireland


In pastoral ministry people disappoint us. People hurt us. People betray us. Cynicism can knock at the door of our heart. While we want to acknowledge that leading is challenging and hard at times, beware of becoming jaded. It can damage you and the people you are leading. 

If you find yourself falling into negativity or cynicism, talk to the Lord about it, talk to a mentor about it, talk to a friend.

And make an effort to focus on the wonderful things the Lord is doing around you. Gratitude is a profound key in avoiding cynicism. As the old hymn goes: “Count your blessings one by one, and see what the Lord has done”. 

Gratitude is a profound key in avoiding cynicism

And take a moment to reflect on the lives which have been changed because you do what you do. People who were far from God when they encountered you or your church, individuals who were struggling in various ways who are now thriving. And when you are feeling like pastoral ministry is just too hard, we would encourage you to “count those people one by one, and see what the Lord has done”.

Invest in your spiritual vitality

Keep your spiritual fervour. Invest in your relationship with the Lord. The demands of leadership can easily squeeze your personal walk with him. Some may think Pastors get to do spiritual stuff all day. They get to spend time in the Word, they get to be in lots of worshipping environments – but the reality we are all too aware of is that as leaders, that is not most often the case! There are practical and operational matters to consider. We are often responsible for most of the meetings we are in, including our church services. So we need to be intentional about investing in our own spiritual lives. I would encourage you to take practical measures, such as scheduling daily, monthly and yearly times with the Lord, to protect your spiritual vitality. 

We need to be intentional about investing in our own spiritual lives


Being in church on a Sunday can feel like work. Like we’re always on duty. Though there will be exceptions, as a general rule the worship time is not the time to be doing last minute preparation on your sermon notes. It’s time to worship with the church.

It is edifying to the Lord, it is edifying to you, and of course, you’re always modelling something, and people may take their lead in worship from their Pastor.

When someone else is preaching, engage with an open heart. At Trent Vineyard I get to listen to the same sermon three times on a Sunday. That might sound tiresome, but I notice things in the evening service which hadn’t struck me in the morning. My heart can soften to what the Lord wants to tell me through the message, by engaging with it again.

Check your dials

It can be helpful to imagine that each of us have three gauges on our dashboard, like those in a car. Gauges which reflect whether we are running near empty or near full.

There is a physical gauge, a spiritual gauge, and an emotional gauge. 

And we do well to check those gauges from time to time, and pay attention when one of those is running low.

There is a risk that we can find ourselves running on empty spiritually as well as emotionally and physically. This is especially true for those who have a type A personality.

We have to have an inner journey with the Lord, otherwise we’ll crumble. That can lead to depression and anger or ultimately to complete burn out. 

Leading is hard. It can be challenging and stretching sometimes, and it is natural to feel tired or to struggle at all levels of leadership. And it is important that we acknowledge when things are tough. But if we slip into being jaded, we can also lose sight of the privilege and joy it is to serve the Lord in this way, and we can miss the blessings that he has for us as we give our lives over to him. So, beware of becoming jaded so we can step fully into the blessing that God has for us as we lead his people. 

If we slip into being jaded, we can also lose sight of the privilege and joy it is to serve the Lord in this way

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