It’s much easier for a pastoral staff of a rather small church to meet the personal needs of the member’s of their church body. Common logic will quickly lead you to the understanding that churches with much higher attendance, would leave a pastoral staff much more occupied, and less able to meet those same needs.
This doesn’t mean that they are less willing by any means. Simply put, the more members of the church, the more work there is for a pastoral staff. More work means “less time”. When you find yourself with more and more to do, with increasingly less time, you tend to steer clear of those tasks that are the most time consuming. If that is not you, then you must wear a cape to work.
When pastors find themselves in this predicament, the obvious options are:
1. hire help
2. work more
4. raise up leaders and volunteers
If I missed any other options here, feel free to educate me.
Addressing option number 1. This is not always an option. Do you know how often I dream of hiring more staff? Every single day. Guess what? If the funds aren’t there to increase payroll, “X” that one out.
Option number 2. If you don’t know how many hours the typical pastor/minister/ministry leader already works, then I double dog dare you to ask one. I can tell you that I could easily work 80 hours a week, and still have things that I could do to improve our ministry. I tried it for the first year or so that I was at the URM. I almost worked myself right out of ministry. Here’s the kicker; I’m a single man. I will be married in July and if I tried to work that much, my bride-to-be would not “be” with me long. Just because someone is in vocational ministry, doesn’t mean they should have to ruin their own lives to make it happen.
How about #3? Sounds pretty good, right? I mean, the more you can get others to do then the less you have to do yourself! Bad call. I can tell you now that the people that work under me, work much harder than I do already. Almost every good organization has a few good “point” people, with all the hard workers backing them up. I never realized how true this is until I began talking with our Organizational Pastor, Shannon Wood. Thing is, if you work your help to death, you’re left facing inevitable death all alone.
Number four, logically then, appears to be the best and most effective route. Here are a couple reasons why:
1. Those who have been there, need an area in which they are comfortable and willing to “plug-in” and serve.
2. Those who are there now, feel they can relate to those mentioned in #1. If you have been there, then you know how I’m feeling!
3. After you have met those 2 needs mentioned above, you’re meeting some of your own because this method is affordable, keeps your workload down, and gives added support to your staff.
We all have an obligation to share the work of the Lord in our own lives. This enables people to do that, with people who are eager to hear their stories. People want to hear what God has brought them out of. It gives hope. It drives out doubt and fear. It kills the sense of isolation. And it trains leaders.
“Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your Christian hope, always be ready to explain it.” 1 Peter 3:15
I once read great peice of advice. It said “To raise up followers, you delegate responsibility; to raise up leaders, you delegate authority.” I don’t know who first said that, but it’s so true. It took me a long time to really learn that, but I’m seeing it’s truth even now.
Until next time, ponder this: Are those that are giving their time, being trained effectively?