During this election season, I must confess that I’m thankful that I’m a Canadian. My thoughts and prayers are with my American brothers and sisters. In some ways I’m surprised that Donald Trump has made it to this point that there is a good possibility that he might be the next president.
I have no desire to attack him but I do believe that there is something that pastors and other leaders can learn from the rise of Donald Trump.
1. Fear is a Powerful Motivation
I am not expert in politics but I would guess that a large part of Trump’s success is his ability to tap into people’s fears. Whether or not it is based in truth, people are afraid of terrorism and illegal immigration. Trump has been able to name those fears and address them head on. We may disagree with his answers, but tackling those fears has been effective for him.
Pastors need to be aware of this principle. In no way am I promoting fear mongering. But there are things that people fear and instead of ignoring them, pastors should be willing to address them. It has been demonstrated that fear is a powerful motivation for change. Speaking to fear in a healthy way can be beneficial.
2. Clear Vision is Attractive
I am not a fan of Donald Trump. But it does not take a lot of guess work to figure out where he stands. One of the reasons that he is hated by so many people is that he does not hide what he wants. There is a clear vision. Whether it is good or bad is another question.
Where is the pastor taking the church? Is the vision clear? It is not enough to have a vision on the letterhead or the website. The vision needs to be pushed and articulated clearly on a regular basis.
3. Confidence is Inspiring
For all the criticism, I have never heard people suggest that Trump lacks confidence. Some may argue that he is overconfident. I would guess that there are many people in this uncertain world that find Trump’s confidence to be refreshing.
I’m not saying that pastors should try and act like Donald Trump. But a bit of confidence, anchored in an understanding of God’s sovereignty, could benefit some pastors. Is the message that the congregation is hearing just some vague hope of keeping the doors open for another year? Or does the pastor really believe that God is going to do something big with and through the congregation?