Even though most pastors instinctively know we can’t do it all, we try anyway. Perpetuated by a congregational belief that only the pastor can do certain things, the long list becomes almost comical.
The pastor, just an ordinary, everyday Christian leader, is expected to pray before every church group event, meeting, and meal; counsel for marriages and every personal/family crisis; visit every person in the hospital; preach every message; and make most decisions related to running the church.
According to the book, Simply Strategic Volunteers by Tony Morgan and Tim Stevens: 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 volunteer.
I can’t think of any pastors serving a live and growing church who are lazy. The demands and burdens are literally endless. 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 Ephesians 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.
Other people in the church should be praying aloud for worship times and meetings. 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.
People in your church 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 specific ministries.
People in your church are gifted and available for hospital visits. Commit to taking someone from your team or congregation on every visit you can.
People have gifts to serve in many capacities within the church and beyond. Create new volunteer roles, even small ones, for them to step into. Make a goal for how many people in your congregation are 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 in which they can participate.
Measure ministry by who is being equipped more than what you are doing yourself.
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]
I know from experience that it’s not easy to stop doing and start equipping. Hopefully these practical steps can help.
What part of “equipping” do you find to be difficult?