How Self-Awareness Inspires Healthy Ministry : Stephen Chandler
How does our self-awareness relate to our health in life and in ministry? In this week’s conversation on FrontStage BackStage, host Jason Daye is joined by Stephen Chandler, pastor of Union Church, and author of Stop Waiting for Permission. Together, Stephen and Jason look at the value of being honest with ourselves about our own brokenness, our flaws, and our hangups, and how that opens the door for God to do even more in our lives and through our ministries.
Looking to dig more deeply into this topic and conversation? Every week we go the extra mile and create a free toolkit so you and your ministry team can dive deeper into the topic that is discussed. Find your Weekly Toolkit below… Love well, Live well, Lead well!
- Video links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Audio links to this week’s episode – easily share with the ministry leaders in your church
- Additional resource links from this week’s conversation – so you and your team can easily find what is mentioned or referenced
- Ministry Leaders Growth Guide – key insights and concepts from this week’s conversation as well as engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process
- Full-text transcript of this week’s episode – review something you heard, pass along snippets, post tweets, create presentations to share, or use in whatever way you find most helpful in developing your ministry leaders
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Additional Resource Links
StephenRChandler.com – Stephen’s website where you can learn more about his church, his family, his ministry, his books, and other kingdom resources
Stop Waiting for Permission – Stephen’s latest book that we reference in this conversation. Described as a “biblical boost of encouragement filled with original insights to help those seeking to scale the heights of their calling, map out the territory of their purpose, and discover their unique and personal area of genius.”
Union Church – The church that Stephen pastors in Maryland
Feeling overwhelmed, burned out, or just want to talk? Complimentary 1-hour Coaching Session for Pastors http://PastorServe.org/freesession
Ministry Leaders Growth Guide
Key Insights and Concepts
- Every pastor and ministry leader is born into a broken world that has damaged our hearts to some degree
- If we do not examine our hearts, and take our wounds and brokenness to Jesus to heal, we lead out of our hurt rather than our healing
- Trauma does not just occur in our upbringing. Trauma happens as we lead in ministry. We need to continue to examine ourselves before Jesus and let him work in us. This must be an intentional rhythm in our lives if we are to serve from healthy places.
- We must pay attention to what fuels us, because the “wrong fuel takes more than it gives”
- Unhealthy fuels include fear, comparison, and pride. Healthy fuels include passion, purpose, and eternity.
- We can let fear drive us in aggressive ways or passive ways. One can lead to workaholism because we fear we won’t be accepted or appreciated and the other can lead to apathy because we fear we will fail. Both are unhealthy.
- Many pastors have a competitive nature that causes them to push and drive things forward. But if that God-given nature is not taken and submitted to the Cross so pastors can heal from those negative influences, it will cost them more than it ever gives them.
- Passion is often disguised as frustration in our lives
- Purpose is a healthy motivator in our lives and ministry as we focus in on God’s calling and direction for our life
- People who are far from God should really matter to us as ministry leaders and should impact the way we talk, live, act, teach, and serve
- One of the most dangerous places a ministry leader can be is when they are leading from an unhealthy place but they are actually getting positive results. There is no motive to examine their heart or to actually back off and get into a healthy place.
- We should have gauges in our life to let us know something is wrong. This is a discipline of self-awareness and needs to be checked on regularly.
- We should have others in our lives that we trust who we give permission to speak into our lives when they see something is off. We need people that we respect who are willing to ask tough questions.
- As much as you want your ministry to make an impact today, you need to want even more to be in ministry years down the road. You are not rewarded for a fast start but for a faithful finish.
- If you are breathing oxygen, God still has more for your life.
Questions for Reflection
- Am I looking at the world, my life, and my ministry through anxiety-tinted lenses or hope-tinted lenses? How do I know this? Would others who know me well say the same thing?
- Make time to identify some of the brokenness and wounds in my life. How might these be impacting my ministry? Have I taken them to Jesus for healing? Do I need to talk with someone trusted to work through these wounds?
- How regularly am I examining my heart before Jesus? Am I being open about what I am experiencing?
- What is fueling me? Is it healthy or unhealthy? Do I need to make some adjustments?
- Am I letting fear fuel me, either aggressively or passively? If so, what will I do?
- What am I most passionate about? How does that relate to the work I feel called to do?
- When do I feel like I am best fulfilling my purpose for the kingdom?
- When was the last time I shed tears over those who are far from God? Am I allowing God to break my heart for what breaks his heart? How can I grow in this way? What will it take?
- If I am completely honest with myself, am I getting results even though I am leading from an unhealthy place? Why is this so dangerous? What will I do?
- What self-awareness “gauges” do I have in my life? How regularly am I paying attention to them? What do I do when there is something wrong?
- Who do I have in my life that has permission to speak honestly into my life? If I do not have this person, how will I find them? When will I do this?
- Am I focused more on being “successful” in ministry now than on being faithful in ministry for the long haul? If so, what needs to change?
- What does God have for me? How am I still seeking God’s direction?
How does our self-awareness relate to our health in life and in ministry?
In today’s episode I’m joined by Stephen Chandler, pastor of Union Church, and author of Stop Waiting for Permission. Together, Stephen and I look at the value of being honest with ourselves about our own brokenness, our flaws, and our hangups, and how that opens the door for God to do even more in our lives and through our ministries. Are you ready? Let’s go.
Hello, friends, and welcome to another insightful episode of FrontStage BackStage, so good to have you with us. I am your host, Jason Daye, and every single week, I have the distinct privilege of sitting down with a trusted ministry leader and diving into a topic, on an effort to help you and other pastors like you to really embrace a healthy, sustainable rhythm for both life and ministry. We’re proud to be a part of the PastorServe network. And each week, we take our conversation, and our team creates an entire toolkit around that topic. And that toolkit can be found at PastorServe.org/network. And it’s really created to help you and the ministry leaders of your church to dig more deeply into what is discussed and to reflect on that. It’s got a growth guide in there, lots of other great resources, so be sure to check that out at PastorServe.org/network. Now, if you’re joining us on YouTube, hello, give us a like and take a moment to drop your name and the of your church in the comments below. We love to get to know our audience better, and our team will be praying for you and for your ministry. And whether you are joining us on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform, be sure to follow or to subscribe so you do not miss out on any of these great conversations. And I am super excited about our conversation today because I am joined by Stephen Chandler. Stephen, welcome to FrontStage BackStage.
How’s it going, Jason? Thank you so much for having me.
Yeah, it’s good to see you, brother. Now, Stephen, for those who may not be as familiar with you and your ministry, can you just give us a quick snapshot of the life of Stephen Chandler, Union Church, the things that you’re doing and what God is doing in your life right now?
Well, the life of Stephen Chandler is a circus because I’m married with three kids and two puppies. Kids are six, four and one. So it is I mean, it’s loud. It’s fun. We’re having a blast right now. I have the honor of pastoring Union Church, which is in the Maryland area, we have four locations in that area. And then we’re getting ready to launch our fifth location in Charlotte, coming up this January. So we’re holding on for dear life. We’re having fun, and not getting a lot of sleep. So it’s good.
That’s awesome. That’s good to hear. Now, one of the things that you’ve also done recently, like you don’t have enough going on in your life right now, is you have written a really fantastic book called Stop Waiting for Permission. And in that book, and you and I were talking a little bit about this book, this book is written for a wide audience, but tell us a little bit about kind of the heart and the thought process that you were having, actually, as you’re putting this book together,
Definitely. So I became a senior pastor of my church in 2011. I was 23 years old, I was single. I’d never been to cemetery I mean, seminary, a little preacher joke. And the church, it was a church that my dad had pastored it it was probably about 50 to 60 people for 15 years prior to me becoming the senior pastor. To make a long story short, we relaunched the church, connected with a phenomenal church planting organization that kind of walked with us in the church group for three years straight. After those three years, we were about 400 people and we just stalled out. We could not, it didn’t matter how well I preached, didn’t matter how horrible my message was, people came and people left and we never grew. And I got so discouraged. I began to have thoughts of man, is this all I’ve got? Have I hit my ceiling? Maybe I was never called to be a senior pastor, and we should become a campus of another church and all those types of stuff. So long story short, I tried to give the church away. I went to a big church in town and said, Hey, we could be a campus. I come on staff and all this other good stuff. And Jason, I couldn’t even give the church away. You know you got a bad church when you can’t even give it away. In hindsight. I know it was God that was keeping me where he placed me and I now know that there was a work inside of me that God needed to do before he can do a work through me. Long story short, I connected with some pastors of churches that were ahead of us. And I began to learn and realize the things that I was doing wrong. And that it wasn’t just pray and trust God, but you actually have to have skill in building the church. And from that point was 2015 to 2018, we saw our church grow exponentially, to the point where in 2020, we were named the fastest growing church in America. And then since then our church has since doubled. And really the heart behind this book is I know that there’s so many people, but particularly pastors out there that are contemplating quitting, that are asking the questions of is this all that I have in me is, is this the ceiling, is this about as far as it’s gonna go? And my prayer is that through my struggle, through my frustration, and through my pain, that somebody else is encouraged to no, keep going, your best days are ahead of you. God has so much more in store for you. But it’s not worth sacrificing your marriage, your health, or your children over striving for what you see is next.
And that’s so good. And I think that resonates with so many of us in ministry. Because we can all have that sense, you know, I mean, because in ministry, we’re doing great things for the Kingdom. We love God, we love ministry, we love people. I mean, that’s why we are doing what we’re doing. God’s called us into that life and into that world. And yet we can over push ourselves. And that’s one of the things that I love in the book that you kind of share, and you try to help us kind of process through this idea of what does it really look like to give God our best. And one of the things Stephen, that you you share is that, as we look at giving God our best, we need to look at the state of our hearts, right, because it really starts there. And that we often view our circumstances, and thus our life through a couple different lenses. And there are a couple primary lenses that you share, that we use. One is kind of like an anxiety-tinted lens, right, where we’re looking through it and we’re seeing, we’re looking fear, we’re seeing things as problems, we’re seeing negativity and things, sort of like that. But then you also talked about this, you know hope-tinted lens. And as we look through that lens, we see, you know, goodness, we see opportunities, we see faith. And, you know, Stephen, we would think as, as pastors and ministry leaders, we would think that the state of our heart would be really oriented toward hope. All right, Jesus is our hope. And although that is true in many circumstances, in many cases, it’s not always true. Sometimes that anxiety can really sort of seep in. So Stephen, can you share with us a little bit, why is it that we get caught up sometimes in anxiety over hope, fear over faith? And then what can we do to make really that shift in our perspective?
I love what Paul said, he said, I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened. Now that sounds like Paul failed his anatomy class. You don’t have eyes in your heart Paul, you have eyes on top of your head. But Paul said, I’m not talking about anatomy, I’m talking about spiritual health. We don’t see life through our eyes, we see life through our hearts, or through our life experiences. And unfortunately, we were all born into a broken world. This broken world has damaged our hearts. So before we were a pastor, we may have grown up in a single family home, or with an alcoholic parent or a parent that battled with depression. We might have dealt with rejection at school or these life things that wounds our heart. And a lot of times you grow up and your passion for God, your love for God, you go to seminary, you discover your calling, but your heart was never healed. So next thing you know, I’m pastoring from a position of I have been told my whole life, I’m not good enough. And now the fear of not being good enough is driving me. And I wish as pastors we could be honest, and honest enough to say that as much as we love God, and our heart is broken for the lost, it is impossible for any of us to have 100% pure motives, by the fact that we have a sinful nature. We have impure motives as well. I want to prove to people that I have what it takes I want to prove to myself or I want to be somebody I don’t want to be a loser I wouldn’t or whatever it may be and the sooner that we acknowledge that our hearts were wounded before we ever became pastors, and that our motives are never 100% pure, then we can begin to address the reality of our heart, bring it to Jesus, bring it to trusted colleagues, and start the process of healing so that we can lead and have aspirations and ambition from a healthy place instead of from an unhealthy place. Here’s the other thing. All trauma doesn’t just come from our childhood. Some trauma comes from that trustee who planted the church with us and said that they’d be with us till the end. And then they got mad at us and they marched out the door, and it wounds us because that was somebody that was close to us, that we cried with, cared for. And wounds just happened as we go. And if we don’t have a practice of bringing our hearts to Jesus, to professional counselors, to trusted pastors and maintaining our health, then we’re going to find that we’re going to be leading from an unhealthy place. I would not advise pastoring a church single on my worst enemy. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult, I’d say it’s impossible. I did it. And I survived, because I had my parents close by and I had people that were able to safeguard me. But I’m a little bit glad that I pastored the first two years single, because Jason, I was not healthy. And I’m so glad that my wife wasn’t susceptible, susceptible to that season. But I wasn’t sleeping. I was working 40 I mean, 80 hour plus weeks, I was sure I was doing it in my own strength. And to make matters worse, is I was getting results. That’s what’s dangerous: when you’re leading from an unhealthy place, and you’re actually getting results. There’s no motive to examine your heart or to actually back off and get into a healthy place. And thank God, I had people around me who were like, bro, you’re not doing well, you’re, you’re not in a healthy place. And they were able to get me on track. But it’s a reality, I would say, for all of us, not just some of us.
Yeah, that’s good. I think it’s important because being sure that we step back and realize that none of us are exempt from this reality. We all have an upbringing, a background, we all have a narrative that we bring into the work that we do that God’s called us to do. Yeah. And I love what you said, Stephen, about the fact of having a community of sorts around you, you had people who cared about you, who cared more about you probably than they cared about the ministry, your ministry actually. Right. And so they and I think that’s vital. And so very important. As leaders, one of the things that you’ve shared is this kind of idea that we need to pay attention to what is fueling us. And you kind of touched a little bit on that in regard to your first first few years there in ministry. And what exactly is fueling us is not always on kind of the front stage of our lives, right? It’s not always something that everyone can see it. It’s often on the backstage, it’s hidden away in our personal lives. And Stephen, one of the things that you say is the wrong fuel, and I love this, you say the wrong fuel always takes more than it gives. So let’s get really practical. Let’s kind of go backstage, Stephen. What are some of those unhealthy fuels that we might not even realize that we’re relying upon in our ministries?
So fear is a big one. Fear of failure. Fear of not being enough… of a popular phrase today is imposter syndrome, where people feel like I’m a fraud. Everybody thinks that I’m this great man or woman of God, or whatever it may be. But I know the inconsistencies in my life. Pride is another major fuel of I want to prove to people that I am somebody that I am valuable, that that I have something to offer the world. Comparison is another major fuel of man, I don’t want to be in second place. I don’t want to you know, you know, it’s rare that you’re going to find a pastor of a growing church that’s not competitive. It’s the competitive nature in us that causes us to push and drive things forward. But if we don’t take that God given nature and submit it to the cross and heal from those negative influences, it will cost us more than it gives us. For example, if you’re fueled by failure, you’re afraid of being a failure, you most likely will become one of two things, either a workaholic, or extremely passive, and someone who does not take risks. Now, if you’re a workaholic, then you’re going to push and work to a level that can’t sustain a healthy marriage, you’re going to work to a level that can’t raise healthy kids, you’re going to work at a level that can’t keep your physical health intact. And then what happens, your church grows and your marriage doesn’t, your church grows and next thing you know, you’re on the operating table with open heart surgery because you’ve neglected your physical health, or your church grows at the expense of the relationship with your child. Now, one of the things that I discovered is that the unhealth in our heart is lived out in different ways based on our personality, and we demonize the over aggressive personalities. Oh, he’s a workaholic. Oh, he’s arrogant, or she’s arrogant, always talking about themselves. They’re always trying to one up somebody. But another personality, that same fear manifests as passivity. So no, I’m not a workaholic. And I don’t neglect my kids, and I don’t neglect my marriage, and I don’t neglect my health and all that. But also, I’m not maximizing my potential. I’m not having the impact that God’s called me to have because fear has paralyzed me. It’s kept me from trusting the leaders around me. It’s kept me from living by faith instead of by sight. And we can demonize those people with the aggressive personality, but in the eyes of God, the negative fuel is still taking more from us than it’s giving to us. Now, what what what’s the positive fuel, everything that the enemy creates, is a counterfeit of what God had for us. So what’s the fuel that will push me and keep me motivated? Here’s the problem, Jason, like fear will get you motivated. Like, if you want to be better than somebody, you will wake up earlier, you’re going to go to, but and because those things work ethic will bring good results. It can be tempting, as well, I know it’s not healthy. I like the results that I’m getting. I’m telling you God’s way always brings better results in the end. So here’s some healthy fuel: passion. What’s the passion that God’s placed in your heart? Oftentimes, passion is disguised as frustration. What is it about the world, about ministry, about the Kingdom of God, that frustrates yo. Hey, that frustration is actually a problem that God has put you on this earth to be a solution to. So Jesus was frustrated by them selling and turning the temple into a marketplace. And we saw that frustration manifest when he braided that whip. And I mean, he got passionate, and you would have thought that he was angry. And it gave the same velocity but it came from a healthy motivation. Purpose is another great motivator, and a healthy motivator. We all know Jeremiah 29.11, For I know the place I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you. God planned your life. He put gifts, talents and ability inside of you. And there’s a purpose that you have here on Earth. And when you latch on to that purpose, it is going to be such a motivator and a fuel. The last one is one, and Jason, I’m gonna be too honest, and hopefully I can help some pastors in my honesty. The last motivator has to be eternity. It has to be I want to give my life so that people do not live a life separated from God for eternity. Paul said it this way, he said, I want to take hold of that in which Christ took hold of me. I am blown away by the fact that he shed his blood for my freedom. And why do I want to give my life for other people that they can connect with that same freedom. All right, here comes the honesty, that’s gonna get me in trouble. Um, how much I care about lost people ebbs and flows. Sometimes my heart is broken, for some people, for people who do not yet know Jesus and need the hope of Jesus Christ. And sometimes, I’m not thinking about them at all. I could care less. I mean, y’all would judge me, but you’re already judging me. So it’s all good. If we would be honest, we don’t always have a heart that’s broken for the things that breaks God’s heart. But because I know that and I know that it needs to be a motivator. I’m constantly examining my heart. I’m asking questions of hey, when’s the last time you shed real tears over people who do not yet know Christ? Oh, man, it’s been four months. Ah, I gotta get in God’s presence again. I gotta get in God’s word. I gotta begin to pray God break my heart again, for the things that breaks your heart. Because I’m becoming calloused to the thing that you create, that you put me into ministry in the first place, and that is supposed to be a healthy motivator.
Yeah, I love it, Stephen. One of the things that, as you’re talking, I was thinking of this idea of honesty, and I appreciate your honesty, brother. But getting to a place where we can really be honest with ourselves, about, you know, what our motivations are on any given day, because like you said, there’s an ebb and flow. I think for all of us, we all would resonate with that in ministry, there is an ebb and flow to kind of our passion, about certain things, our heart for certain things. And if we’re honest and able to say, that is a reality in my life, I think this is an incredible gift, Stephen, because if we can say that is reality, then that opens the opportunity for us to, as you said, examine ourselves, yeah, check in with the Holy Spirit and say, hey, you know, that just like David said, you know, check my heart, you know. But if we’re unwilling, you know, to admit that we do have cracks, we have flaws that we are broken, then we’re never going to pause and do that, that examination and open our heart up before God and say, Okay, God, do your work. Where am I today? So talk to me a little bit, Stephen, what does that look like in your life? As an example, like, what does that process of examination look like, in a practical way?
So I’m gonna give you like a nice little preacher joke. Denial is not just a river in Egypt. There you go. But it’s a place that we often live. I think about, you know, when the Pharisees came to Jesus, and Jesus said, you’ll know the truth and the truth will set you free. And they said, We’ve never been in bondage a day in our lives. And I always laugh when I preached that because I asked the church, have you ever read the Bible? Like they’re in bondage in the beginning, they’re in bondage in the middle, and when they told Jesus they weren’t in bondage, they were in bondage to the Roman Empire at that moment, right? It’s, it’s difficult to acknowledge where I am. But the reality is, God can heal us deliver us, set us free, move us forward. And so we say, this is where I am. This is what’s going on in my life. So here’s how I do it. For me, when you’re driving a car, there’s gauges on the dashboard, that tell you the health of the car. It tells you how much gas is in the car, it tells you, you know, is the fluid cooling the engine? Or is it overheating? It’s telling you the speed that you’re going all these gauges are, you’re supposed to be paying attention to them to say, Hey, this is a healthy pace at which I’m driving. And if something goes wrong, a check engine light is going to pop up, a tire pressure light is going to pop up. We should have gauges in our life, that let us know something’s off. Hey, I’m not really sleeping well at night. Something’s off. Hey, I’m having big wins. This is a big one for me and my personality. I’m having big wins. People are getting baptized, people are getting saved. I have a new book coming out. And I don’t feel like celebrating. I’m not pausing to thank God and say, Wow, that was amazing, it’s just on to the next. When I see something I’ve prayed for coming to pass and I don’t celebrate, I just go on to the next, that’s an indication that something’s off in your heart. Like, like, that’s the check engine light on the dashboard. I’m short with people in my relationships. I’m reading my Bible and praying, and it’s, it’s going through the motions, but I’m not really receiving anything for it. I am, um, you would put me on a scale of emotional and 10 is very emotional and, and zero is not emotional. I’m somewhere in the negative, like my wife would tell you, she could count on one hand the amount of times she’s seen me cry and all that other good stuff. So for me, if I’m in church worshiping, or I’m worshiping in my quiet time during the week, and it’s emotion less, there’s not tears that are streaming down my face, at least once a week. I know Stephen, your heart is getting hard. You’re getting desensitized to the presence of God. These are just some of my gauges that hel me say, Hey, you’re off. And then I have patterns of something simple that a lot of my pastor friends don’t do. I Sabbath. I have one day a week, where I don’t sermon prep, I don’t check emails, I don’t take business calls. For me, my Sabbath is Friday, cuz I work on Sundays. But I am religious, my staff knows, from 6pm on Thursday to 6pm on Friday, you can’t get him. He’s not signing anything from the bank. He’s not checking emails, you can call me. But don’t let it be about work. Because I’ve got to have a pause moment in which I take rest for myself for my family, and I let God do what he’s going to do. I, I am mandatory vacation every year. And I just started doing it where it’s not two weeks, but it’s four consecutive weeks, where I step away. Here’s what fear will say, fear will say if I step away from that church, it’ll decrease. People won’t get saved, the money will go down, leaders won’t have vision and all that other goods. Jason, you know what happens every time I step away? Dude, the giving goes up, people get saved, people get baptized, and I start looking like man, maybe I was the problem the whole time. Maybe it’d be a great church if I didn’t come back. I think it’s just a supernatural confirmation from God. Right? I’m choosing to use you, but I don’t need you. Don’t forget, it is God who adds the increase. Even if you’re watering and another person was planting the seed. So having those patterns of knowing when I’m getting into an unhealthy place, and then having strategic sections of your year where you stop, pause and evaluate.
Yeah, that’s good. I love that. I love that analogy of the gauges, it’s so you know, just it speaks to really what we need to be doing. And just that idea of self-awareness, that oftentimes we get so caught up in ministry, so busy, so pushing, pushing, pushing that we’re not, we’re not checking the dashboard, we’re not looking at those gauges, we’re not making sure we’re self-aware. I know that you’ve shared also this idea of community people around you. So that whenever you are kind of you know, not, you know, glancing at the dashboard, you have people in your life that could say, Hey, you know, let’s check in. So talk a little bit about how that community around you works to provide just a healthy, loving, caring way to have a sustainable rhythm of ministry.
Yeah, let’s just stick with the car analogy. Okay, if you’re smart, you’ll take your car in for oil change, at least every 3000 miles, 10,000 miles, whatever it is. And they’re not just going to change your oil, they’re going to check your water pressure, your tire pressure, your antifreeze and al. You’re smart enough to know that you can’t evaluate your car by the eyeball. And we should know if we value our soul more than our cars, it should be the same way. You should have trusted people in your life, that they’re allowed to check your health level. So for me, I have what we call overseers. It’s a board of senior pastors that I’m accountable to. They’re responsible for my life, for my marriage and for my integrity. And they have the authority and they do call me almost on a monthly basis. And they love me. They, like you said earlier, they care more about me than they care about the success of my church. And hey, how you doing? How are the kids? No, how are you really doing? How’s marriage? How’s kids? How’s this? How’s that? All right, cool. Well, my wife is going to call Zai, that’s my wife’s name. And I better get the same answers. You guys have to tell me, now’s the time, right. And this board is made up of brothers and fathers. Fathers are the ones I’m intimidated by. Brothers are the ones that have my back. And you need both in your life. You need fathers that, you know, hey, they will correct me. They will sit me down if need be and I honor that. But I also need brothers, that can say, hey, I’m not trending in the right direction. And I need an arm around the shoulder, not a foot in the pants. I need an arm around the shoulder of hey, man, you’re doing better than you think you are. I remember one time I was calling someone on that board, a spiritual brother of mine. And I said, Man, I want to do this but I’m afraid that it’s going to come across as arrogant and it’s going to look self-promoting and all that other good stuff. And he said to me, he said Stephen, arrogant people don’t ask those type of questions. So simply by the fact that you’re worried about it, and you’re thinking about it means that arrogance is not the foundation of it. Now, some people may perceive it as arrogance, but don’t worry about them because they don’t know your heart anyway. And it just brought such a peace in me. And it was what I needed from a brother.
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. I love to see how you kind of knit those pieces together, the self-awareness piece, the surrounding yourself with people who care about you and your family. And that’s one of the things that I think, unfortunately, we see in the church today, all too often, people aren’t in community, they’re isolating themselves, all too often they’re not self-aware, they’re not checking in, they’re just pressing ahead. So Stephen, what, when we’re thinking about this idea of, you know, giving God our absolute best, allowing God to do a work in us, you know, like you said, you know, we’ve got to allow God to do work in us before he can do a work through us. What are some just kind of encouraging words that you would like to share with your brothers and sisters who are, you know, we’re on this journey together, we’re all you know, we maybe have competitive spirits, but we know that a competition isn’t one another, or competition is the enemy. So what are some encouraging words that you’d like to leave with other pastors and ministry leaders?
Oh, make it short. I’m gonna give a quick rebuke and a quick encouraging word. Good. Never have they ever given out the gold medal in a race for a fast start. They only give out the gold medal for a strong finish. And I think those of us in ministry especially I’m young, and I’m on the front side of my journey, sometimes we’re so consumed in starting fast, that we don’t give a lot of thought to our finish. And if you start fast, and you don’t finish it, you’re disqualified. And we have to say, hey, as much as I want this church to grow today, me still being in ministry, 30 years from now matters more. So let me put into my life, the safe… accountability is only as valuable as you allow it to be in your life. And when you see it, as this is vital for me, finishing strong, then you’ll use it and value it in the way that it needs to be valued. Here’s the encouragement. If you are breathing oxygen, you have not yet maximized your potential. There is so, I don’t care if you’re a 68 year old pastor getting ready to pass your church on to somebody else, your best days are ahead of you. There is so much more that God wants to do through your life. And if you’re not seeing the progress and the growth that you want to see, hear me, that’s not God’s lot for your life. That’s not God’s. Paul said, Hey, I’m gonna go with Christ. Or I’m going to continue in fruitful ministry, there’s fruit that God has for you. So let’s do the hard work. Let’s do the character analysis. Let’s learn from who we need to learn from so that we can maximize the potential that God has placed inside of you. But trust me, there’s more ahead of you than there is behind you.
I love that. What a great word brother. Man, Stephen, it has been so great to have time with you today. Your heart and your spirit and your love and your passion is contagious. It just pours out of you. You know, I just love to see Jesus in you. So thank you for making the time to hang out with us on FrontStage BackStage. Real quickly, if people want to connect with you, connect with your ministry, obviously if they’re interested in finding your new book, what’s the best way to connect?
The book is anywhere books are sold. StephenRChandler …Stephen with a P-H like in the Bible, stephenrchandler.com, you could find everything about me. And then same thing StephenRChandler on Instagram, is where you’ll find me wasting my life.
So awesome brother. And for those watching along or listening in, we will have all the links for you to connect with Stephen, and with his newest book, Stop Waiting for Permission. And you can find that at PastorServe.org/network where you can download the toolkit for this entire conversation, things for you to reflect upon for you and your team to grow more deeply in the things that Stephen and I have been talking about, what Stephen has shared. So, again, PsatorServe.org/network You’ll find all of that there. And Stephen man, it has been an absolute blessing. What an encouragement.
Thank you for all that you do for pastors, for the kingdom of God, the impact that you’re making, you may not even be able to see it. You’re impacting so many lives and advancing the kingdom. So thank you for all that you do.
Awesome. Thank you, brother. God bless you. Now, before you go, I want to remind you of an incredible free resource that our team puts together every single week to help you and your team dig more deeply and maximize the conversation that we just had. This is the weekly toolkit that we provide. And we understand that it’s one thing to listen or watch an episode, but it’s something entirely different to actually take what you’ve heard, what you’ve watched, what you’ve seen, and apply it to your life and to your ministry. You see, FrontStage BackStage is more than just a podcast or YouTube show about ministry leadership, we are a complete resource to help train you and your entire ministry team as you seek to grow and develop in life in ministry. Every single week, we provide a weekly toolkit which has all types of tools in it to help you do just that. Now you can find this at PastorServe.org/network. That’s PastorServe.org/network. And there you will find all of our shows, all of our episodes and all of our weekly toolkits. Now inside the toolkit are several tools including video links and audio links for you to share with your team. There are resource links to different resources and tools that were mentioned in the conversation, and several other tools, but the greatest thing is the ministry leaders growth guide. Our team pulls key insights and concepts from every conversation with our amazing guests. And then we also create engaging questions for you and your team to consider and process, providing space for you to reflect on how that episode’s topic relates to your unique context, at your local church, in your ministry and in your life. Now you can use these questions in your regular staff meetings to guide your conversation as you invest in the growth of your ministry leaders. You can find the weekly toolkit at PastorServe.org/network We encourage you to check out that free resource. Until next time, I’m Jason Daye encouraging you to love well, live well, and lead well. God bless.
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