OK, so the question Fields wanted me to answer this week seems a little off the beaten path, I’m not sure how practical this will be for most. I’ll do my best.

So here’s the question: My senior pastor wants me to triple my ministry within a year, actually wants it to go up five times, but will settle for 3 times. Also, my admin assistant is incompetent and she’s the pastor’s wife.

I lost the actual question, but I’m pretty sure I’ve got it right. If not, email me: mattm@saddleback.net and I’ll correct the error of my ways.

So, I guess the answer is that you’re pretty much ruined. Of course, that’s only from a human perspective, and fortunately we can rely on God to work something out. So why we (you) pray and wait expectantly for God to show up, what’s our (your) responsibility. Not sure why I’m writing in 2nd (3rd) person. Actually, I’m not sure which is 2nd and which is 3rd. 1st person is easy enough to remember because of halo 1-3.

First off, in this situation, I’d like to know the number of kids in your youth group. if you have 50 and he’s expecting 150, then you have a hill to climb. If you have 10 and he’s expecting 30, well, at that point I’d say stop whining. (just kidding, you didn’t seem to be whining.)

Let’s say you have 50 or 100, and he wants 150 or 300 students… there is a positive side to see here: at least you know what’s expected of you. Also, maybe the goal is secondary to the pursuit of the goal. Now, Rick Warren said something a few months ago that I really agree with (so i figure he’s pretty smart) (that was sarcastic, not even my colossal ego compares myself to him. Fields, yes. RW, no.)

Anyhow, the thing RW said was something along the lines of set huge God-sized, unattainable goals, and go after them with all the faith you can muster. in the end, you’ll achieve a lot more than if you set wimpy goals, and it wont matter if you don’t make it to the moon.  (that’s actually an abridgement of about 8 things he said).

So, I say go after the goal with full gusto. Dream, plan, strategize… show your plans to your pastor. Show him the progress and the outcomes. Perhaps he feels like you don’t set high enough goals.

Remember, just about every pastor is very nearly the worst possible manager. Maybe he just read some leadership book, and he’s trying to create a BHAG that will impress Jim Collins, John Maxwell, or his leadership professor from seminary. Some days I think the government should censor leadership books. (reason #57 I’ll never be a good leader).

BTW: 10 months ago, when I came in to my new ministry, I was sitting in a meeting where a few dudes (pastors) were talking about B-HAG. I don’t mind looking dumb, so I asked, FYI: “big hair audacious goal.” And yes, I did get the, “you must be dumb” look. I grinned like they were the village fools.

You mentioned that you have the largest youth ministry in your area… which is really cool. Don’t communicate to your senior pastor that you have the biggest group, it’ll look like you’re whining. While I don’t really know anything about culture, I think a bigger youth ministry will grow faster than a smaller one.

I don’t know anything about culture because it’s hard for me to care about things that change when the things that don’t change have so much more impact. the person who understands human culture may be cool and seem effective, the person who understands human nature will change people where it counts. Here ends my short rant against the futility of culture. Everyone is selfish and wants to be loved. Don’t give me this crap about truth and absolute truth. People in every generation and culture are healthy practitioners of self deception and self absorption. Ok, now my rant is done. Don’t spend so much time learning the language that you never say anything of significance. finished.

OK. Sorry about that. (not really) About the assistant, you’re in trouble. If she wants to be there, then she stays. If you can convince her or her husband that maybe it’s time for her to move on, then go for it. Sit them both down, and give a list of reasons why maybe it’s not the best fit. This could be a death sentence (if one isn’t already on your head). But, if everyone is mature, it shouldn’t be a problem. Do you think she’s there to spy on you? that’s a total drag. Do you know if you have her respect? If not, you’re in HUGE trouble.

If you really have the guts, ask your senior pastor why he gave you the huge goal…you may be able to say (if this is true, of course) that when you hear that goal, and you mix it with a little too much self doubt, you feel like you’re being set up for failure.

So, if this were a normal situation, I’d say there’s a LARGE chance you’re on your way out the door. If you love where you are at, and what you are doing, and don’t mind the humility that MAY COME from sticking it out, then I would do everything possible to win the respect of your senior pastor and his wife. Get her doing the stuff she’s good at (she has to be good at something), and try and find a volunteer to make up for her incompetence.

Matt McGill