FIP’s, NIP’s, KIP’s, and WIP’s

Pastoring Seniors

Generational differences can drive a Pastor crazy trying to discern the various needs and priorities of their congregation.  What is absolutely vital to one generation barely garners notice to another.  The retirement segment of a church bears this in greater distinction.  Their needs are not as they once were.  Disengaging from a career poses serious transitions.  They may transition to a fruitful life even more distinguished than their previous career, or it can lead to utter failure, filled with bitter regard to all around them, even themselves.

Following is a simple four part guide marking the various challenges of ministry.  Understanding their estate will open new possibilities of reaching them at their most urgent and “authentic” self.

FIP’s  —  Formerly Important Person

Once upon a time in their career they really did hold an important position in their company.  They really did work their way to Vice President of Something, or even a CEO type with plush office and benefits.  But now, some years on the other side of retirement things are different.  No one is demanding their time or holding their life by what they may decide.  Their grasp of power is only a memory.

They may hold to a sense of privilege, but now it only looks like a self-deluded sense of entitlement.  Burn-out may have ended their career prematurely, which may now bring a liberating break from the confines of an oppressive past.  No longing desiring to uphold their past life, they are very free to move on to greater satisfaction of their soul, but only if they can navigate past resentment and grudges.

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
— Philippians 3:13-14

MD’s and other professionals will feel the harshest brunt of their lapse of power, as they still imagine their power over others and will direct the good doctor in the details of his training.

Their big challenge is to live in the here and now, but how can they find personal value after all the glory days are past?  Some never do and end up bitter, contrary and toxic to anyone who tries to help.  Short of a visitation from Jacob Marley and three seasonal ghosts they must learn to let go of the deceiving past and embrace who they might be now.

They must reinvent themselves.  They were once successful in their career, that inner drive is still present, but it needs to alter course into new adventure.  Instead of high profits, it may now need to refocus into helping others achieve financial comfort in their post-retirement years.  It likely will involve nothing of materialistic gain, but in the deeper spiritual cleansing and security of heavenly assurance.  They may now finally be free enough to embrace the ever illusive life of personal contentment, which never did require a great bank account; just happiness in their self-fulfilled life in Jesus Christ.

NIP’s  —  Never an Important Person

Here’s your first clue to the Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  The stories of superior human accomplishments eventually become remarkable; too remarkable.  Rev. Philip Travers noted one situation that one need merely to use a calculator to see the absurdity of all the claims.  This person would need to be at least 180 years old to have accomplished all that he claimed.  It really did get just that ridiculous, but like a psychological addiction they could not stop the bragging.

As Jung put it,

“The great problems of life — sexuality, of course, among others — are always related to the primordial images of the collective unconscious. These images are really balancing or compensating factors which correspond with the problems life presents in actuality.”
Psychological Types; The Psychology of Individuation (1921)
Ch. 5, p. 271

What they need is their own claim to social benefits for others, not themselves.  They will never truly be happy just trying to bolster themselves, as fading away as that really is.  Only in giving themselves away will they truly find the contentment within themselves.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it,
but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.”
Mark 8:35

KIP’s  —  Knows an Important Person

Forget the personal accomplishments, even by bragging like a Narcissist, they take the safer road of “actually” knowing someone important.  This person may be in the current zip code, or across the country or even in the distant past.  But by golly, they know someone they consider famous.

The attitude poses a danger when they may try to choose someone they perceive with power.  Should that person have control fantasies, the seeds of division have already been planted.

How can they be helped to let it go?  They are trying to claim value through an outside means, not believing they are important just as they are.  Their humanness is what gives them the right to be part of this planet.  They are valuable in themselves; no more and certainly no less.

“The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection.”
— George Orwell

 WIP’s  —  Wanna-be an Important Person

Their displays of knowledge and ability get way over the top in a hurry as they assume to know how to run things better than anyone else.  Although they lack the education for it, nor the experience, nor the accreditation … they still know all they need to run this show better than the Pastor or anyone else.

It’s a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, that people will claim superior ability in spite of their ignorance.  It’s all compensation again for a lack of ability which they crave to obtain, but do not have the gumption or determination to take the time and energy to achieve the training.  In short, they are not smart enough to realize they are not that smart.

“It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”
Attributed to Mark Twain
(see Proverbs 17:28)



Protest Futility

Productive Protesting

Dr. Steven Minor
Church Politics Facilitator

Protesting is back in fashion.  The 60’s – 70’s has returned with all its zeal and people just can’t seem to get enough of seeing themselves on TV, even if it’s just an aerial view, thousands of feet above that reduces them to a mere “dot,” in a sea of other dots we assume are a great crowd of people.   Ground level, the excitement of parades and shouting down the opposition may provide such a cathartic cleaning which psychologists can only fantasize might be achieved for their soul and maybe the whole nation — ??

But apart from all the intensity ushered in by egos demanding their way, or just the thrill of marching in a parade, we must finally evaluate these measures to see how effective they may or may not be.  We would encourage protest organizers to reconsider some strategies in favor of old, yet established methods to go beyond merely venting disapproval to gain the results our country urgently needs.  We need to reacquaint ourselves with the voice from Birmingham, Alabama, Martin Luther King, Jr.

1) Be Proactive — Never allow your enemy to choose the battle field
Let your protest focus on the real problems we face as a community.  Publicize pledges of “Respect the people” is far more effective than “We Hate Trump!”  Never play their game.  Take control of these situations and guide them to higher places of dignity that will shame your adversaries.

     “Never allow you enemy to choose the battlefield”
             — Napoleon Bonaparte, Maxims of War


2) Empower the Media — Give them something to write about.  Let’s face it, the battle is not about you, it’s about winning the hearts of the people watching all this and trying to decide where they stand with it all.  Show the media respect and strength, good order with clear objectives that help the many.  Win the heart of those on the sidelines still deciding what to make of these causes and never assume everyone naturally agree with you.  Be the real people and forbid even a moment of pity for people with hateful motives.

P.S. and make sure your ranks are agreed to not be those kinds of people yourselves.   Guard against those hypocrisy story by-lines.



3) Never Empower Your Enemy — deny counter exposure

When good Dr. MLK planned marches they were normally on the “other” side of town, not the other side of the street.  When the counter-protest is held too close the news media has its lead story on the point of contention.  You have accidentally built the media’s push for a good story by intensifying the situation.

The original point of protest will receive the headline and attention.  By issuing your discontent through hostile measures you have served their purpose of free advertising for their issues (AKA, “news coverage”).



4) Sequere Pecuniam, Go After the Money — starve those resources

The allies won World War 2 on their superiority of resources.  They first of all fed supplies into Europe through marvelous fetes such as the Red Ball Express, and kept the resources flowing.  And then they depleted the resources of the enemy through bombing raids of factories and supply depots.  They denied their enemy resources to fight.

Modern protests needs to do the work — Google often supplies the information — and find out who supports these malevolent protests for white supremacy and other oppressive movements.  That’s where the pressure needs to be applied.  Who are the people supporting the efforts of hate?  Then expose them as broadly as possible.  You do not even have to mention much of the supremacists; but shine the light bright on their supply depots and banking resources.

Cui bono can be a helpful strategy for uncovering the plots behind the scenes, with the driving question of “Who benefits?”  Sequere pecuniam is another help, “Follow the money.”  Who is keeping these power forces functional and viable?  Who is shipping in their resources?  Who is making those signs? Who is providing their water and lunch?  Those are the ones to bring out into the open for public shame.

Believe in your cause and clarify your faith in it.  Show your passion and you will win the hearts of the people.  Our culture has much too much hypocrisy and self-absorbed agendas.  Be the true people of God practicing the heart of Jesus’ cry for peace, healing and reconciliation.  His message of love, not the spun religiosity meddling in his mission, is always good and strong.  That will win the hearts of the people.

Matthew 5:38-42

38 “You have heard that it was said,
    ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person.
    If anyone slaps you on the right cheek,
    turn to them the other cheek also.
40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt,
    hand over your coat as well.
41 If anyone forces you to go one mile,
    go with them two miles. 
42 Give to the one who asks you,
    and do not turn away from the one
    who wants to borrow from you.”


_____         _____

I am thankful for the guest blog to the Church Politics Consortium from a good friend, Johnnie Tigner, to affirm the call to spiritual renewal and transformation which fully energizes real and effective calls for justice and righteousness.       — SM


Black Lives Matter feedback:

The statement concerning Black Lives Matters as a movement has failed to employ Christian idiom (phrases, sayings…) undermined their ability to persuade white Americans to accept a change to a more inclusive economic and political system in America.

I agree with that statement, our black youths and a few old black guys like me, are not interested in getting white Americans to validate our position. Today, thank God, our Black youths appear to be more interested in real change that can be measured and evaluated and sustained over time. Some see the fight for change should initially involve whites taking a more responsible role in getting whites to change their racist behavior. Recently, Heather Heyer, one of that young white leader gave her life for the Black Lives Struggle (she was the victim of a hit and run 20-year-old white bigot) as she was protesting for parity between the races in the political arena.

Honestly, real and lasting change can only happen If it is ordained by God. If this nation of sinners kneels on their knees and wait on his presence and guidance. Through prayer and spiritual guidance this nation can experience a spiritual step towards a covenant experience with God. However, it would not eradicate troubles or sin, but it would give America a chance at experiencing a unity that would be unparalleled in history. The trick would be how close could we get to God and His will for us in the interim, before we mess it up with petty prejudice and unsubstantiated fear again, because of the color of our skin.

The primary issues would begin with how to line up with God’s will and not our greed. Man, without God, is not capable of sustaining a moral revolution. We are the enemy until God changes our heart and resets our spirit. So, PRAYER IS PARAMOUNT in seeking His face!

God has shown us in the Bible how HE intended for us to live. I believe we all have seen that little babies and toddlers are not born with prejudice, they must be taught to hate and overtime without parental intervention they will suffer from the illness of racial prejudice. I suggest we accept this challenge and set up an early educational system that follows God’s plan to validate and appreciate His creation regardless of their skin color. I truly believe God really appreciates diversity.

If we earnestly seek God’s face and turn from our wicked ways, He will bless our heart, and open our mind to hear the word of the Lord by the reading of His Word, and patterning our walk after a spiritual mindset. We will respect the garden, God wanted for Himself. Our time is short, and our impact will be minimal, but God is not limited on any level.

Johnnie Tigner