How to Feel Miserable as UU Clergy


How to Feel Miserable as UU Clergy

  1. Complain about people not following a reasonable procedure when you haven’t trained them well in the first place.
  2. Speaking to people about your time limitations in advance of saying anything substantive.
  3. Use the phrase “self-care” in front of lay people.
  4. Compare yourself to colleagues.
  5. Don’t pledge much to your church, but expect your people to do so.
  6. Talk to your family about what you do & expect them to cheer you on.
  7. Base the success of your entire career on one ministry.
  8. Stick with what you know.
  9. Refuse to research and use good consultants, because you can do it easier & cheaper in house.
  10. Let money dictate which ministry you take on next.
  11. Bow to social pressure.
  12. Always stay within your theological comfort zone.
  13. Do whatever anyone in your congregation asks. Why? Because you’re the minister and they want you to do it.
  14. Set unachievable goals to be accomplished tomorrow. Or, refuse to under-promise and over-deliver.
  15. Take on all responsibility for growth and finances. (authority vs responsibility). Or, Take no responsibility for growth & finances.
  16. Take criticism or praise personally.
  17. Secretly believe that your number one job is to keep current members happy. Or, Refuse to believe that you have any obligation to keep current members happy.
  18. Refuse to delegate.
  19. Refuse to deal with inconvenient pastoral care events.
  20. Forget that you are only successful if your people are successful.

What’s on your list?

3 thoughts on “How to Feel Miserable as UU Clergy

  1. How to feel happy and successful as UU clergy?
    1. Have clearly articulated procedures so that people will know what you expect of them.
    2. Be realistic about your time limitations. Help your people to do the same.
    3. Model self-care. Your people will be grateful.
    4. Hold your colleagues in high esteem, even when they’re struggling.
    5. Be generous with your gifts of time, talent, and treasure.
    6. Be honest with your family about the demands of your profession. Ask for their support and give them concrete ways of doing so.
    7.Realize that your inherent worth doesn’t hinge on the success or failure of your ministry.
    8.Be willing to venture into the realm of not-knowing.
    9.Call in those with expertise that you do not possess. Know that you do not have all the answers.
    10. Be as non-anxious about money as is humanly possible. Let yourself be led by mission and vision.
    11. Remember that the church is a counter-cultural institution. This will help when you feel the urge to bow to social pressure.
    12. Open yourself to different theological perspectives, especially if you are asking your people to open themselves to yours.
    13. Realize that you cannot do everything your congregation asks. Learn to be comfortable with disappointing people.
    14.Set realistic goals. Under-promise and over-deliver when you can.
    15. Share the responsibility for growth and finance with the congregation. It’s their congregation, after all.
    16. Know that you will receive both criticism and praise. Use both to better understand yourself and your ministry.
    17. Remember that your number one job is to serve the mission whether it makes people unhappy or not. Don’t be dismissive of people who are unhappy. Listen to their concerns. Don’t let their unhappiness derail the congregation’s mission.
    18. Delegate when you can, but don’t delegate just for the sake of delegating. Sometimes your are the best person to do the job. Own it!
    19. To the best of your ability, be responsive to pastoral care events, inconvenient as they may be. Know that you will be presented with conflicting priorities and that you will do the very best you can in every circumstance.
    20. Celebrate the success of your people and number yourself among them.

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