Don’t be a “Fainting Goat”: Persevere!

by | May 15, 2018 | Church Leadership, Church Planting

The Discovery Channel ran a story about small-sized goat breed that is a bit rare now (just 5,000 left in the world — all in captivity). They are cute as far as goats go. Personally I’ve never entertained the idea of having an inside the house goat that would come to me when I called its name. Maybe that is your thing. If so, put the word “Fainting Goats” into Google and you’ll find more info on these little guys than you can absorb.

“Fainting” goats you ask? As it turns out these goats are rather emotional. They feel strongly. (Perhaps that is part of the reason for their demise and rarity…) As I watched the show I honestly thought, “Come on! These are goats…You know the creatures that eat anything. The image of them having emotional problems just doesn’t fit…”

When they sense any measure of above average
  • excitement,
  • depression,
  • fear,
    … they simply fall over and faint.

This trait is not like possums who fake their death as a defense mechanism.

Faint Not!

I’m not a big fan of the King James Version in general. My style of teaching is to use several versions in the course of one message. But sometimes it is difficult to top the the KJV!

  • Perhaps the best King James phrase is the gut busting command, “Faint not!” Those two words appear time and again in the gospels as well as in Paul’s letters.
  • I have felt tempted to faint many times in the course of leading.
  • According to many repetitions of these same scriptures in the New Testament, we can choose to not faint.
    “Don’t give up – never surrender!”

    Those are the words of Winston Churchill in the midst of the worst part of the blitzkrieg bombing of London in World War II. Many in England were ready to throw in the towel. Approximately half of the general population were of the opinion, “Let’s cut our losses now and move forward in the new world with Hitler as our Fuhrer. German isn’t that difficult a language to learn…”

    Go out each week — minimally every other week — with your spouse for a good two hours for an emotional downloading session.

I’ve heard so many people encourage planters and pastors to hold to a “date night” that I’m about ill. Those who give such counsel are either not currently in the midst of leading or planting a church,  or they have forgotten the true grit that is connected with the atmosphere involved in a leadership marriage.

  • The objective of this time together is to just spill what has been happening inside each of you. The emotional “hoodabada” (TM) (a word coined by my friend Charlie Wear – all that is the opposite of love and thinking the best about others) needs to be exposed to the light of day. All that continues to be hidden will eventually come out. The longer you wait to deal with it, the more toxic and destructive it becomes.


  • Talk, plan for the future.
    Keep perspective.
    Don’t be limited to where you are now only.
    God speaks to leaders in the future tense.
It is very easy to become bogged down in the here and now only. With that lack of perspective comes leadership depression very quickly – guaranteed!
  • Work in these terms:
    – A three month plan
    – A six months plan
    – A one-year plan
    – An eighteen month plan
  • The closer your view, the clearer you can realistically plan.
    The further away you are looking at things, the more vague and looser your grip needs to be upon things.

    If you are in the midst of a “boggle”, limit the amount of time you spend on it each day to a very short duration each day.

In the midst of planting, you are guaranteed going to face numerous “boggles” (situations that are beyond your control — the kinds of situations that are made more powerful as you think, talk, write, etc. about them…) Therefore, it is imperative that you set a time limit on how much time you will spend on “boggles” each day.

  • For the first three years of each of our plants thus far, we have had at least one boggle going at all times — sometimes as many as three at a time.
  • To stay sane, Janie and I set a time limit on each of these issues (they are actually people, but we’ll just call them “issues” to be polite). Most of the time we set a time limit of 10 minutes a day, five days a week.
  • After those 10 minutes are used up and someone brings up the Boggle again, we simply stop them with a smile and say, “We have established a schedule for how much time we will discuss that situation each day. I’m sorry but we have already used up all of today’s time on that. Let’s set an appointment on the phone for tomorrow or the next day early on so no one will have taken up the time on that by then…”

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