Currently I am reading a book called “Ten Stupid Things that Keep Churches from Growing” by Geoff Surratt. Here are some personal thoughts on the first chapter.
It is true, there is a strong temptation for a Pastor to take the reigns and do it all. I think this happens for several reasons. First the Pastor does not have confidence in the members of the church to do a task. Second, the church members expect the Pastor to do all the work of the ministry and third, the Pastor thinks if he is not involved in everything in the church, people will think he does not work… that some how he is slacking off.
If the Pastor is doing all the work in ministry it will keep the church from growing. It is “stupid” for the church or the Pastor to place this requirement on that office.
Here are some guidelines I have set in place that helps me resist falling back into this mistake.
1. Family time comes first, and I monitor this. The goal is to spend time with my family everyday, especially my children. This means if I have a meeting at church in the evening. I adjust my afternoon schedule so that I am home to see them after school. It also means I may finish up work at home after they go to bed if needed.
2. There are things that just do not get done. Currently there are a few projects here at church that have been stalled and been placed on the back burner. They are things that need to get done but I can’t organize them and push them forward at this time. The sermon and service on Sunday, Bible Study on Wednesday, some counseling situations, a ministry called “Take 2”, all take priority. Now, there are people helping with the things I just listed. We have a great group of leaders and helpers here at FBC. This brings us to the next guideline.
3. If I there is no help, we do not go forward. Its that simple. We generally always have enough people to do a given project or task, I am thankful for that. So far we have only pulled back on one event and that was the right choice.
4. We guard our calendar and the amount of ministries we do. In fact we do not have all the bells and whistles other churches have. Even if our church was larger, we would only do things that accomplished the mission God has given our church to do. This helps us do things with excellence. Andy Stanley is right “Less is More”.
5. We plan ahead. Looking at the calendar and seeing what is going on in the future, helps us stay less busy and focuses us on the task that is before us. One day we will get to the place where we appropriately pace ourselves for the different things we do. Currently we are working to improve in this area. We are better at this than we were a year ago, which shows we are moving in the right direction. That’s a good thing.
Now the book did not talk about these things, it just spoke about the pitfalls of the “Pastor doing it all mentality”… You can buy the book through Amazon.com or email Chris Hales at firstname.lastname@example.org, tell him I sent you.
That said, what guidelines do you use to prevent yourself from being a one man show?