No One Told Me was written by veteran ministers about issues and experiences best learned on the church field rather than in the seminary classroom. Topics include dealing with conflict, working with volunteers, teamwork, supervision, vision, worship, relationships, and many more. While most books are theoretical and of a textbook nature, this book is unique in that it is written by practitioners about lessons that can only be learned in the actual praxis of ministry. It is helpful to both current and prospective ministers.
James E. Hightower is minister of pastoral care at First Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama. He is a licensed professional counselor, a pastoral care consultant, and the author of several books.
You Cant Get Your Blessing from a Church
Excerpt from No One Told Me!
by James E. Hightower, Jr., editor
"I am convinced that many, if not most, professional ministers have an inordinate need to please their church members or constituencies. Now, a certain amount of the desire to please and be popular is normal and healthy. Our longing to be loved and accepted by significant others is vital to emotional and spiritual health. But some very gifted and skilled ministers literally turn their lives into twisted pretzels by trying to please and mollify everyone. The Tragic result is professional burnout, depression, and disillusionment.
A typical example is a scenario that happens to every pastor sooner or later. It is noon on a Sunday morning, and your are standing at the door of the church. The choir is singing the final measures of the benediction response. You are weak-kneed, and wiping sweat from your brow. For the last twenty minutes you have poured your heart and soul into a carefully crafted sermon. Now, it is a vulnerable time. Already you are itching to ask your spouse the weekly question: How did I do, Honey? What did you think of my sermon?
Your parishioners file by, and you quietly tally the vote. Mrs. Williams voice sounds the prevailing opinion, I really liked your sermon today. It spoke to me. Without moving your lips or losing professional dignity, a grin stretches from ear to ear. It is wonderful to be loved and appreciated.
Then, at the end of the line, looms dour Mr. Brown. With the weight of the world on his shoulders and piety oozing from every pore, he intones, I love you, brother, but we do not agree. When you have lived longer, youll see things differently. Off he walks into a glorious afternoon, having dumped his rain on your parade.
On the way home, you fume. Dozens of people expressed in verbal and nonverbal ways their love and support for your thoughts, your ministry, and your personhood. But this one man—the church sourpuss—has robbed you of your good mood, your afternoon nap, your romp with the kids, your sense of selfworth. His lonely voice thunders above all others. He had made your life miserable.
Yet, at a deeper level, you sense that the real problem is deep within you. Why have you given this one man so much power? Why has he been able to stifle the dozens of voices of those who affirm and support you? Why are you upset that you have not pleased this one man? Why are you so hypersensitive to the opinions of other people? And why must you satisfy everybody? These questions gnaw at you. They point to an important and unresolved issue in your life...
Table of Contents
Chapter 1. You Can't Get Your Blessing from a Church
Chapter 2. Whose Vision Is It Anyway?
Chapter 3. Sunday's Coming - Again
Chapter 4. Be Prepared: Fights Are Inevitable
Chapter 5. Lone Ranger or the Brady Bunch: Working as a Team
Chapter 6. Finding and Nurturing Volunteers: The Never-Ending Task
Chapter 7. No One Told Me I'd Be Supervising People