Even though most pastors instinctively know we can’t do it all, we try anyway. Perpetuated by a congregational belief that there are certain things only the pastor can do, the long list becomes almost comical.
The pastor, just an ordinary, everyday Christian leader, is invited to pray before every church group event, meeting or meal, is asked to counsel for every personal and family crisis as well as marriage counseling, is expected to visit every person in the hospital, is counted on to preach every message, and is left to make many, if not most, of the decisions related to the running of the church.
As Tim Stevens puts it in his book Simply Strategic Volunteers, too often, we think of our pastors as superstars – doing all the ministry alone, with the help of any staff the church can afford and a few fanatics willing to jump in to volunteer.
I can’t think of any pastors serving an alive and growing church who are lazy. The demands and burdens are literally endless. And I totally understand the idea of a servant’s heart, wanting to do all you can to keep things going.
But there is this little reminder from Eph. 4:11-12 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
Focus on this… The job of the pastor is to equip people to do God’s word and build up the church!
According to this passage, the building up of the church is done by the people and the pastor’s main role is to equip them effectively.
Lots of other people in the church should be praying aloud for various worship times and meetings. Pastors: start inviting others to open and close administrative meetings and Bible studies with prayer. Ask in advance (even as you walk into the meeting) to take a small step and begin the process.
There are people in your church who should be leading ministries. Don’t start something new until someone is equipped to lead it. Pray at every meeting for God to keep sending leaders for the specific ministry of ___________ so it keeps it in front.
Several people in your church and are gifted and available for hospital visits. Pastor: commit to taking someone from your team or congregation on every visit you can.
There are people with gifts to serve in so many capacities within the walls of the church and beyond. Keep creating new volunteer roles, even small ones, for them to step into. Make a goal for how many people in your congregation you want to have serving at least one hour a week (in addition to worship). It may be hard to track, but it’s a goal people can understand and participate in.
You should be measuring ministry based on who is being equipped more than what you’re actually doing yourself.
And don’t forget to equip your staff to keep growing in this habit, heart or skill of doing what we’re called to do as church leaders: Equip The Church. [Here’s a resource you can use to help equip your church staff]
It’s not always easy to make the switch. I know from first-hand experience that it’s hard to stop doing and start equipping, but hopefully, a couple of these practical steps can help.
What part of “equipping” do you find to be difficult?