Giving youth pastors the tools they need to make and shape disciples.

Dealing With Pastor Debbie Downer

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Remember Debbie Downer from SNL? If not, take a moment to watch it here. O.k., now that you wiped the tears from your eyes from laughing so hard, think about the Debbie Downers we deal with in the church. Debbie Downers can always find a reason for why God can’t do something for them or for you. This spirit of negativity can get under your skin fast and kill faith in a heartbeat. The sad thing is, it may be our Pastor or leader who is the Debbie Downer. What then?

Can your leader tell you a hundred reasons why something will not work? This may be because they have been burned too many times or they having a self esteem crisis and they want some attention, but a lot of Debbie Downer’s I’ve encountered are down because they are afraid. If your leader is a Debbie Downer consider some of their fears when pitching a new idea

– They are afraid someone will not like them because they tried something new

– They are afraid of failure

– They are afraid your idea is bette than theirs

– They are afraid your idea will cost too much

These are just a few of the possible fears they may have, but don’t give up. You optimism and faith must be stronger than their fears. You can counter-act their fears by lessening the degree of risk.

– Build an army of optimists who support the idea and will champion it drowning out the negative

– Fail proof your plan by looking at it from all angels and addressing the “But what if…” questions before they asked. 

– Let your Debbie Downer leader own part of the plan by giving them a role or responsibility in it. Say, “You would be really good at giving the devotion, would you help us?”

– Be fiscally responsible by having budget for the event, alleviating fears of a shortfall. Next time you pitch an idea, you’ll have a track record to run on. 

If you serve under a Debbie Downer, the temptation will be to go swimming with them in their pool of doom. Don’t do it! Commit to being a person with audacious faith. Be the most positive person in the room and bring everyone up to your level and reject the negative pull downward. Let the joy of the Lord be your strength and don’t let anyone rob you of it.

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