I just got back from two weeks of vacation. I didn’t respond to emails, didn’t answer texts, ignored all social media, and didn’t answer my phone. In other words, I took a “healthy” vacation.

But the day before I went back to the church office, I began to wonder what “problems” I’d have to face when I returned. Good for me, I didn’t open emails or check messages before Monday, but it still kinda spoiled my last Sunday off.

I hate problems. Don’t you?

When I got back to the church I had to face a myriad of problems that cropped up while I was gone. Church politics. Staff issues. Broken HVAC. Tech issues. So-and-so in the hospital and angry because the pastor didn’t visit.

Problems. Every one of them. Sigh.

But here’s the truth: If there weren’t problems, there’d be no need for leadership.

Of course, I’m defining “problems” pretty broadly here, but it’s nonetheless true.

Problem: The church is called to reach the community for Jesus Christ and it’s not as effective at it as it could be.

Problem: The church’s mission or vision or values are stale.

Problem: Church members aren’t motivated to support the ministries financially and with their time/talents.

Problem: Sin separates us from God.

Problem: The toilet backed up and the restrooms really need attention.

All problems that require leadership to solve or to deal with. We can’t do it alone, but without a leader the problems pile up and the work of the church grinds to a halt.

So pastor … staff … church leader … problems are your bread and butter. They’re the reason God’s put you where you are. As a leader, problem solving is your life. Don’t resent them. They’re the challenges and the opportunities that pave the way to a faithful and effective future.