Competition Among Pastors

Rebecca Davis

Let’s talk a little bit about competition among pastors. First, I would actually like to start with how this plays itself out as opposed to defining it. Competition among pastors plays itself out through individualism. For example, you get a call to speak at a conference focused on building marriages and family. You know in your heart of hearts that although you are an excellent speaker you are not an expert on this particular subject. You also know of someone, your contemporary, who is an expert on the subject. Do you recommend your contemporary or do you take the speaking engagement and Google as much on the topic as you can to come off as an expert? The reality is that most of us would and will take the speaking engagement. Now, before I go on let me just say, the kingdom does not benefit one bit…the body is not edified an inkling when we engage in behaviors that foster individualism.

“Individualism is the moral stance, political philosophy, ideology, or social outlook that emphasizes the moral worth of the individual. Individualists value independence, and as a political ideology, promote self-reliance and the exercise OF ONE’S OWN GOALS AND DESIRES…” [1] Now, none of us will ever stand up and blatantly admit that we advocate for ourselves. However, our behaviors reek of self. I am not going to front, these words bleed of guilt. Unfortunately, our churches, our people, our pastoral communities and our denomination will never grow because of it. But who cares about lack of growth as a denomination in light of the fact that some of us can say, “I’ve branded myself well! I’ve been successful!” Where is the spirit of collectivism among us; where it’s not every woman for herself?

I have spoken to at least three of the most talented, gifted pastors who have specific expertise over the last month. They admit to often feeling overlooked because none of their contemporaries are willing to say, “You know what, such and such should definitely be at this table as opposed to me because she is doing this in her respective field.”

To put it plainly, I’m ready to see this denomination change and grow but it’s going to start with us banding together. With cohesion as opposed to competition among us as pastors the sky is the limit! Listen if competition isn’t our game then we are somewhere on the sidelines critiquing and criticizing everything about the church/denomination because we know we don’t have a dog in the fight of the competition game.

Our spirits have to change. We need the Spirit of Christ…esteeming others and the cause greater than ourselves! Competition is the act of trying to get or win something that someone else is also trying to get or win. What are we trying to win—glory, praise, speaking engagements, and acclaim? I like what Paul says in Philippians 2, and more specifically verses 1-5. You’ve read it before:

“If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfill ye my joy, that you be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. LET NOTHING BE DONE THROUGH STRIFE OR VAIN GLORY, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus!” [2]

Whew! That’s perspective! I want the mind and spirit of Christ. No vain, inflated ego. No individualism. No competition. Just His cause. Just His Kingdom. Just His glory! Let’s build some collectives and cohesiveness. Let’s build God’s kingdom…together.


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individualism

[2] Phil. 2:1-5 KJV (emphasis mine)

Rebecca Davis


Rebecca Davis serves as a Pastor a multi-church district in southern Georgia. She is the founder of Connect, a ministry to young adults that spans several states. Click below to follow her on social media.

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