I have been away this week in Chicago at a Pastor’s Conference. There is something refreshing about getting away and hearing from speakers instead of being the speaker. It is doubly encouraging to hear from men who understand the office, understand the stresses, and understand the temptations that come with the territory of leading a church.
But let me share an insider trade secret . . . Humor helps a lot.
One speaker while encouraging us as pastors to hang in there, discouraged us from quitting on Monday. So often Monday is the day of discouragement. Whether the message was good or bad yesterday, another one is already brewing for the next Sunday. His encouragement to us as pastors was simply, “Don’t quit on Monday, if you’re going to quit, quit on Friday!”
We all laughed as the rhythm and rhyme of the preacher’s week resonated with all of us.
But there were some serious things that hit us too. While one African American preacher was illustrating some truths from his own life, he reflected on how his family chided him when he told them he was going to get married. None of his family was married and they genuinely asked him, “why are you gettin’ married? Are you trying to be white?” The audience laughed and he rebuked us all! “That’s not funny! That is NOT a joke.”
Another man spoke about appreciating his opportunities to speak in African American churches where the audience participates. He loves getting the “preach it!” Or “Now you bringin’ it”. But he shared with us about one particular woman who would let him know he wasn’t cutting it by her not so subtle, “Lord, help the man!”
I recently read in the book “Conviction to Lead” by Albert Mohler, that a sense of humor is an often overlooked but necessary trait for leadership. I don’t know that much about the ingredients of leadership, but I do know that I like to laugh. And I enjoyed many opportunities to laugh, grow, learn, and be refreshed this week in Chicago.
I am grateful for a church that allows me time and resources to get away for a conference each year! It is good to get away and be refreshed with other pastors.