God can use a jack ass to accomplish His will. Seriously- He can. Trust me. get over yourself!
Leaders often get blamed too much for things going poorly and praised too much for things going well. As a pastor I get a certain amount of criticism as well as praise- it comes with the calling. I suspect every pastor wrestles with how to handle criticism and praise. An article I just read on a leadership website really challenged my narcissistic tendencies.
When I am thinking straight I know any ministry effectiveness that occurs in our church or school isn't because of me. There is no example in Scripture, apart from Jesus, where a ministry leader is the reason for spiritual fruit. God uses people in leadership roles to do His will, which differs from saying that Moses was the reason Israel was redeemed from the hands of the Egyptians or Joshua was responsible for taking Canaan. Even Paul is clear about the real power behind his ministry efforts- it wasn't his skill, intelligence, or craftiness. Spiritual fruit comes from one source- the Spirit of God by the will of God made possible by the work of the Son of God. God needs no man to build His Kingdom. I am absolutely unnecessary for God to bring glory to Himself. I should get over myself and any notion that our church and school are in anyway "successful" because of me.
Despite knowing that God doesn't need me to give spiritual health and growth to Redeemer or Heritage, my flesh struggles when credit isn't given for all I've supposedly done. It's a pathetic, but an honest revelation of my sinful desire to be recognized and appreciated. Our church ministers in an "upwardly mobile" suburb possessing a culture of people who thrive on the approval of man. My people struggle with this culture as do I. Professional status is a high premium around here. I can see narcissism in others, but am loathe to admit I fit right in all too often. The article I mentioned earlier is written by a pastor that expresses the same thing I find in myself all too often. Pastor J.R. Kerr writes-
It was a silly thing to do, but I couldn't stop myself. During a "get to know you" conversation with a few acquaintances and a man from the church I serve, we were talking about interests, passions, and areas of ministry. I tried to keep the focus on others at the table. But then it happened.
The man from my church made a statement that I interpreted as making light of me. The fuse was lit, and within a few moments I managed to work into the conversation the areas where I was leading and the wide impact of those projects. I subtly reminded everyone what our church had accomplished in the city. I even managed to throw in some attendance figures for good measure. I pushed everyone else out of the conversation's spotlight.
When it was over, I felt like I had binged on junk food. Self-loathing set in: I hate when I do this, and I hate it even more when I do it as a servant of Christ. Why do I keep falling into this temptation?
I can see how God's people struggle with the approval of man and a certain amount of narcissism and I grieve for the lack of peace this brings them. Being honest, I feel it myself. May God help the pastors and people of churches in this place (and the many places like ours) to seek the glory of Christ alone.