I once had a supervisor who rarely met with me in person. He was busy leading his own ministry and had a lot of things on his plate.
Still, I longed to have some conversation with him. I wanted his feedback and his thoughts. Mostly, I wanted to keep the doors of communication open. I found that to be difficult with this specific supervisor.
Needless to say, he did not tell me a lot of things. I felt like he was ignoring me and had no interest in what I was doing. Was I expecting too much from him? Was my desire to communicate legitimate?
In one of our rare meetings, he told me something that changed my view of how he chose to supervise me. He said, “John, I usually always assume that people are doing their job and doing it well.”
I now had a clearer understanding of where he was coming from. Did I necessarily agree with that statement? No, because there are times that a leader has to know what is going on with his team. He cannot just assume that all is well.
However, for me, I did feel that our ministry was going well and that there really was nothing for him to worry about in my ministry. He assumed correctly.
There are certain things that a pastor is not going to tell you as a ministry leader. It’s a given, so you need to learn to expect it. Here are 3 things that a pastor won’t tell you:
1) Honest and Specific Feedback: It’s not because they don’t care. It’s usually because they are really busy and they do not always have the time they desire to pay attention to you and your ministry. Is it right? Not necessarily. But it is reality. If they do give you feedback, it is often vague. If they give you vague feedback, say “thank you for your feedback,” and then ask if he has a specific example that will help you change your behavior.
2) How to run your ministry: That’s why he hired you! You’re a leader. Now go make your ministry happen! He expects you to be the expert in that ministry, so he is giving you a certain level of trust and authority. However, if he is telling you how to run your ministry, watch out. It may mean that you are not performing to his level of expectations and that you need some handholding. That is not a good sign for you and your ministry. If he is hands-off with your ministry (but still checks in regularly to see how things are going), then that means he trusts you and likes the way things are moving forward.
3) Can I visit your ministry? A pastor is not going to ask that. There are 2 types of pastors:
- Those that will drop in to your ministry at anytime unannounced. He is the pastor leading the church, so that is his prerogative. I actually encourage it.
- Those that will never visit unless you invite them. He is not going to invite himself. If you want him to come, then invite him. Don’t assume he knows you want him to come. Make it clear. He may not come, but at least the invitation is out there.
Question: Are there other things your pastor won’t tell you?