5 Ways to Fight Insecurity as a Pastor or Leader

I was talking with a young pastor recently. He is overwhelmed with the responsibility he’s been given. His church expects a lot from him…leading the church, preaching great messages, and seeing the baptistry consistently in use. He realizes the weight of his position, but much of it he doesn’t feel qualified to deliver. He accepted the position knowing there would be challenges, but now he’s wondering if he’s in over his head.

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Priest with Prayer book

I was talking with a young pastor recently. He is overwhelmed with the responsibility he’s been given. His church expects a lot from him…leading the church, preaching great messages, and seeing the baptistry consistently in use. He realizes the weight of his position, but much of it he doesn’t feel qualified to deliver. He accepted the position knowing there would be challenges, but now he’s wondering if he’s in over his head.

I realized he was dealing with a huge dose of insecurity. I previously wrote “7 Traits of an Insecure Leader.”

It caused me to ask myself, so I could counsel him:

What’s the best way to deal with insecurity in leadership?

Here are 5 ways to deal with insecurity as a pastor or leader:

Avoid comparisons – Insecurity often develops when a person compares him or herself to another. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Be yourself. Realize that who God designed you to be is not a mistake. Obviously, someone believed in your abilities as a leader. You need to stop comparing and start living in your own skin.

Concentrate on your abilities – What are you good at? Make a list of your good qualities. You probably have more than you think you do. In times of feeling insecure we often forget. Keep your list handy. It will help you to feel more confident if you focus more on the positives than the negatives.

Surround yourself with people who compliment your weaknesses – Part of having a healthy organization is the strength that comes from different people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. There are probably people who can do things you don’t feel comfortable doing. It’s not a sign of weakness to get others involved. It’s actually a sign of strength as a leader. (And it’s a more Biblical model of the church.)

Keep learning – Seek wisdom from other leaders. Read books. Take additional classes. Knowledge is power. The more you grow in information the more competent you will feel in your role. (By the way, when I feel overwhelmed or insecure, I read the stories like that of Gideon, Moses, Joseph, David, or Joshua repeatedly. Great encouragement.)

Ultimately, find your identity in what’s really secure – You have a relationship with Christ. Remember, “You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength.” If you are facing insecurity in leadership you may have to simply get better at walking by faith. “He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.” (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

Insecurity will weigh you down and hold you back as a pastor or leader. It will keep you from doing all you were called to do. Don’t let it!

That’s my advice.


Ron Edmondson,Thoughts on Leadership, Church, and Culture

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I am CEO of Leadership Network. Previously, I was a pastor, revitalizing two churches and planting two churches. I have also been a church leadership consultant. I am passionate about planting churches, but also helping established churches thrive. I love assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. My specialty is organizational leadership. I have more than 35 years leadership experience, as a self-employed business owner, and have been in full-time ministry for over 16 years. I have a seminary master’s and a master’s in organizational leadership, and am close to my doctorate in Christian Education. I also once helped lead (as an elected official) a mid-sized city, where I served as Vice Mayor and Finance Chair. The greatest times for me are with my wife Cheryl and our amazing adult sons, Jeremy, his wife Mary, and our youngest son Nate. These are special days now that Jeremy and Mary have blessed us with our first grandchild, Eleanor. We had heard and now we know – grand-parenting is so much fun! We also enjoy a sweet Yorkiepoo named Lexi. Over 20 years ago, I founded a non-profit ministry called Mustard Seed Ministry, which provides devotional resources, conducts family, marriage and parenting, and church leadership seminars. I am an INTJ personality on the Myers Briggs indicator And certified to give the official assessments. I have big ideas, I love creative and critical thinking and I love to see progress. I am usually around people, but crave down time.