As a pastor, one of the tremendous disservices you can do to yourself and your support structure(especially your immediate family) is to fail to distinguish between the sheep and the goats within your congregation.
Jesus gave the first Christian pastor a charge to take care of his entire flock but took time to emphasize the dichotomy and the need to create different growth tracks for each group, so you don't miss heaven(lol) and put your family through hell on earth.
The goat is stubborn, hard of hearing, loves to act in their own worst interest and generally takes much longer to learn lessons that appear apparent even to the blind. So give them a long rope, allow them to wander off if they must, rest your back and focus on the sheep, ready to go to the next level. Well-groomed sheep will eventually be the helpers that will cater to the wounds of the goats after they must have pierced themselves in many places.
Well-groomed sheep will eventually be the helpers that will cater to the wounds of the goats after they must have pierced themselves in many places.
While it is painful to see any congregation member go through needless troubles, goats only learn the hard way. Make peace with that fact, so you don't end up taking resources away from your immediate family and even the sheep that will produce much-needed fruit quickly.
Goats only learn the hard way. Make peace with that fact.
Everything I have pointed out here applies to every human grouping, whether a community, business organization, city, ethnic group, race, country or even species. There are sheep, and there will always be goats who have a thing for suffering and going through avoidable pains.
So, know your people and don't be unduly invested, emotionally, in someone else's growth trajectory; if God won't intervene when a son decides to go extravagant and suffer for no justifiable reason, are you wiser than your maker?
Sort them into bins and allow them to grow at their own pace. Some will grow from pain to pain. As a leader, you must develop a stomach and thick skin. The goat will waste the extra food you force-feed it with due to its stubbornness, so do not waste it on them. Save it for when they've reached their lowest point and are open to learning.
Pray for them and don't feel guilty about your strategic indifference. Mastering the art of leading people who are not obligated to be there will make you an expert at leading those who are paid to be there.
Mastering the art of leading people who are not obligated to be there will make you an expert at leading those who are paid to be there.
You will be an overall better shepherd to the entire flock and the support structure invested in you when you decide to lead this way.
NB: If a flock, community, city or country is over 70% goat, the ability to save your collective resources, resist the tantrums they habitually throw and do what is best for their future will be the leader's most significant asset and contribution to the group.