Preachers prepare sermons, teachers plan lessons, accountants crunch numbers, and mechanics fix engines. But there’s no institution of higher learning that can fully prepare you for the pressures of leadership. That only comes through on-the-job training. Paul lists the pressures of leadership along with being whipped, beaten, stoned, betrayed, and shipwrecked. It’s why over half of all pastors leave the ministry in less than ten years. As author Zig Ziglar said, “It’s lonely at the top.” If you’re a leader in any area of life—and most of us are whether we realize it or not—the buck not only stops at your door, but you can’t move it with a bulldozer. As a leader, you will hear little when things go according to plan, but when they don’t go well, watch out. Leaders draw criticism as surely as a picnic draws flies. Influencing others always comes at a price. A leader will pay the cost in time, thought, and trust. The instalments look like daily risk taking, visionary thinking, diligent working, and problem solving. But the biggest cost is dealing with people, especially those who may wear the same uniform but aren’t on the same team. Paul refers to it this way: “In danger from false brothers” (v. 26 NIV). If this is what you are experiencing today, here’s what God said to Moses: “Stand near me…As my glorious presence passes by, I will hide you in the crevice of the rock and cover you with my hand” (Exodus 33:21-22 NLT). What’s the answer to the pressures of leadership? A consciousness of God’s presence in your life.