T4G2010: Brian Habig-Fears of the Minister (Update)

fear of church

(Update: Audio now available see the handout below.)

Brian Habig lead one of the breakout sessions at T4G2010. His topic was The Fears of the Minister. Part 1 and part 2 of an interview with Habig can be found on the T4G blog.

Part 2 includes:

7) What will you be speaking on at T4G?

“The Fears of the Minister.” Substitute the word “fears” with “insecurities,” and you’ll get a pretty good idea of what I plan to address. Ministers talk about Jesus Christ a lot, but we have come up with all sorts of ways to place our identity elsewhere. (Even during the gospel-saturated days of T4G, most everyone there — especially ministers! — will be sizing each other up and wondering how they stack up by comparison!) This session will be as pertinent to non-clergy as it is to ordained ministers.

Pastor Habig’s session was a good one. It was honest, practical, humbling and let everyone know that all ministers are human and have the same fears. Below are some high lights taken from the handout we received that he went over with everyone.

The full handout is at the end of this article. Unfortunately, the audio is not available (as far as I know), but I think you can get the gist of the session with the material presented here.

Brian Habig: Fears of the Minister Audio

THE FEARS OF THE MINISTER
Together For the Gospel
April 14, 2010

[Introduction is Habig talking about watching the documentary Comedian with his wife.]

WHAT DO THE FEARS SAY?

  • “I’m not as gifted/known/followed as_________ . Am I going to end up exposed as a failure?”
  • ”You need to like and appreciate me. What will it take?”
  • “They’re plotting….” ”We Who Are Your Closest friends”’ by Phillip Lopate (see back [of handout])

SOME FLESHLY STRATEGIES (not an exhaustive list)

  • “We offer lots of programs, so I clearly pastor a healthy Church.”
  • “We support lots of missionaries, so I clearly care about non-Christians.”
  • “Calls, emails, texts, and meetings are incessant, so clearly I’m needed.'”

In the seventies many seminaries were hard pressed financially but now had, in the D.Min., a lucrative product to sell. At the same time, many ministers were hard pressed psychologically as they sensed their growing externalization in society, the decline of their status, and the corresponding loss of power and influence. The shotgun marriage was consummated. …It strains credulity to think that only a love of learning has produced this happy match. After all, among those who graduated with the degree, 78 percent said that they expected to be more respected in the community and 73 percent expected to be paid more.
(David F. Well, “The D-Min-ization of the Ministry,” in No God But God)

HOW GOSPEL MINISTRY SUFFERS

  • “You cannot serve two masters.”
  • Ministry becomes truncated.
  • Example overrides preaching/teaching (i.e., ethos drowns out logos).

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

  • Remember the unadjusted gospel (especially our justification)!!
  • Ask for the repentance we need.
  • “Bear fruits keeping with repentance.”
    • Real day off each week/fully-used vacation time.
    • Proactive shepherding rather than reactive appeasement.
    • Cultivate a new mindset about being liked or disliked.

…it is right for good rulers to desire to please men; but this in order to draw their neighbours by the sweetness of their own character to affection for the truth; not that they should long to be themselves loved, but should make affection for themselves as a sort of road by which to lead the hearts of their hearers to the love of the Creator. (Gregory the Great, Pastoral Care)

The Fears of the Minister handout

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