8 Questions Discouraged Leaders Need to Ask


Brandon Conner

Our guest blogger today is Brandon Conner, campus pastor of the Canton campus of NewPointe Community Church in Akron, Ohio. Brandon is a great leader, speaker, and church consultant. We welcome him to this site. 


As leaders, we all face times when things are not going as well as we would like.  In those seasons, it’s important to remember that before we can ever re-energize the church we lead, we have to first be energized ourselves.  Below are eight questions leaders should ask themselves during difficult seasons.

  1. Am I walking through this season of struggle alone? When we find ourselves in stressful situations, even the strongest leaders need a buddy to walk with them.  Don’t try to go it alone.
  2. Have I allowed my thoughts and my feelings to become entangled? In discouraging times, leaders may feel like their attempts aren’t working.  They may feel like no one else cares. The real question, though, is, what’s true? In order to know the truth, I need to discern, from facts and data, what reality is. Sometimes the situation is not as dire as it feels
  3. Am I trying to do ministry in my own power? Jesus told His disciples, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” We must talk to God and walk with God if we’re going to be energized to lead a church through a discouraging time.
  4. Am I trying to avoid leading through the pruning process?  Sometimes we have to prune ourselves, our programs, and even our staff for a church to move forward. Unfortunately, many leaders avoid the pruning process because it hurts. Do healthy pruning when you have to, though, and your discouragement may lighten.
  5. Am I trying to use a gimmick or a silver bullet strategy to turn things around? Instead of resorting to gimmicks and silver bullet strategies, return to the basics of what Jesus did—making disciples and equipping people for the work of ministry. Start by investing in a few people. Watch for the little victories in a few lives.  
  6. Have I come to grips with the fact that leaders deal with problems?  In challenging seasons of my own ministry, I’ve sometimes felt like I was dealing with problems I shouldn’t have to deal with. But, it’s my job as a leader to deal with problems that are holding us back, so I changed my mindset.  If you don’t want to deal with problems, you can’t be the leader.
  7. Am I running from the storm or into the storm? Are you running from a storm that’s inevitable?  Are you avoiding a difficult conversation with a staff member, volunteer, or leadership team?  If so, you’re only prolonging the problem and adding unnecessary anxiety to your life.  Deal with the storm so you and the church can move beyond the storm.
  8. Am I focused on what I can control or what I can’t control? Control gives us a sense of security, but we can’t control everything. If you get focused on what you can’t control, your leadership will be stunted. Work on what you can control. 

What other questions would you add to this list?

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