Well, tomorrow April 27th 2018 (it’s a Friday I know), I will have served as Pastor of Farmington Baptist Church for 10 Years. During that span of time I have learned a few things about ministry. Recently I made a list of those things and thought I would share 10 of them with you here in this post. These are in no specific order of importance – they just are what they are.
1 – The longer you are at a church the harder funerals become.
The reason for this is simple – you know people better after 10 years of ministry than you do after 3 years. I’m not saying anything about God’s will for other pastors when I make this next statement I am just stating a reality – the longer you are at a church, and the longer you walk through life with the people you are called to shepherd, the more you know them and the more you care for them. You can’t match the love that grows for a congregation that simmers over a long period of time with one that is always new. Its sort of like marriage, 3 years into it when the honeymoon is over reveals just how much you really care for each other. The longer you stay together the more you understand each other and the closer you become.
BTW – sometimes getting closer to someone is going through an argument with that person and working through it with the goal of honoring Christ and keeping the relationship.
2. If you “run”the church with the leadership structure that God put into place – It Works.
The Biblical Leadership structure for the church is simple. Elders/Pastors, who cast vision and shepherd the people. Deacons, who are leaders that oversee benevolence needs, widows and orphans. And Church members, who are believer priest who do the work of ministry. Each one of these groups serve, not each other but Christ within the context of this leadership structure. I do not have the space here to unpack what all this means. But the church was never designed by God to be ran by committees/teams or by deacons for that matter. Instead His leadership structure for the church is far more simple than that. It goes against every form of human reason for how to develop and run an organization but it is “simply” brilliant….
But you have to trust the simplistic structure by faith…
Faith that says God knew what He was doing when He set it up that way.
3. Church growth does not happen like you think it would or even how you were taught it would.
In short – Church growth is a bit of a mystery but when it happens it is your job to mange what God is doing. You manage it by following Christ and leading other people to do the same.
4. Worship doesn’t have to follow a style.
Again, I do not have time to completely unpack this one here, but I will say that to value one worship style above another is to value style above what worship should really be all about…. Singing praises to God. His only qualification is that we have a pure heart and approach him as who we are not as a certain style dictates us to be.
5. Most of the “job” of being a pastor is just trying to keep up with God and what He is doing.
6. The 20/80 rule for a church doesn’t have to be the rule.
The 20/80 rule is 20% of the people in a church does 80% of the work. This does not have to be the rule. As I have reflected and looked around at the group of people here at Farmington Baptist we have a high percentage of people that are involved in ministry at the church sometime during the year. For this church if someone is not involved they are more likely to be the 20% that aren’t involved rather than the other way around. This is a blessing and might be the result of not having committees but I do know it is the result of people loving Jesus and wanting to show Him that love through their service.
7. Be the best you can be in the small things of the church/ministry and you will be ready for when God gives you something bigger to do.
When you have a church of 80, prepare your sermon as if you were going to preach to 1000 or more. Treat every speaking moment as if it was the most important one and you will be ready for when God opens other “bigger” doors. This goes for other service opportunities as well. Do all of them with excellence regardless of the size of the event. After all, we serve for the Glory of God and that is the highest “stage” anyone will ever have.
8. You never loose when you make Children your #1 priority.
I definitely do not have time to unpack this one but I will say to invest in kids, and pour our lives into theirs, training them with the truths of Bible produces strong Christians that will change the culture in the future.
9. The moment you begin to try to pull off something you will struggle achieving is the moment God shows up and makes it happen.
Dreams that are only big enough for you to accomplish, will never be God sized accomplishments.
10. When preparing for a sermon, the message has to touch your heart before it is ready to be presented.
I have learned that you can plan and plan (my sermons are planned a year in advance), but at the end of the day the thing you should speak on in your next sermon is the thing that has touch your heart…. the thing that has changed you.
Those are the best sermons.
So heres to the first 10 years… my prayer is that God will give me 10 more and help me stay on His path and keep me off my own. – Mathew 6:10