What is your goal as a pastor? What would bring real satisfaction?
I know pastors who have 100 people who are convinced that if they could just get to 200, then things would be right in the world. I know pastors who have 1000 people who secretly believe that 3000 is the magic number. There are pastors who are just trying to get over the 10,000 hump, and pastors of 20,000 who think 40,000 feels about right. No one really talks like this, but deep down many pastors live this way. Having been on staff of churches at every level, I can assure you that at the end of the rainbow is always another rainbow. No matter how “successful” your church plant is, you will never arrive. So let me give you four targets you can hit.
I believe that if you hit these goals, you will find the fulfillment you are looking for as you lead a church.
1. Love Jesus
I know, we all love Jesus. But is that what motivates us? Let me be honest about what I love; I love success, I love strategy, I love excellence, I love technology, I love a well-executed plan, I love crowds, I love speaking, I love compliments, I love new buildings, I love recognition, I love seeing a team come together. Oh, and I love Jesus too. What do you love?
We have to find a way to move Jesus to the center. We have to fall in love with Jesus. We have to do it every day. We have to acknowledge that all the other stuff of ministry is often a smokescreen getting in the way of our love for Jesus and we have to strip it all away.
2. Love your family
Don’t just prioritize your family, take time for your family, and protect your family. Love your family. Become the kind of person your family loves. Be the dad that your kids love to tell their friends about. Be the husband your wife dreams about. Pastor your church but love your family.
3. Love your people
People are great volunteers, amazing leaders, and wonderful teachers. They are butts in seats. They are building blocks of a ministry. They are the tools in our hands we use to build the monument to us that we believe our church will one day be. To Jesus people were broken hearts to be loved; a grieving widow, a scorned woman, a desperate dad. Take off your rancher’s hat, pick up your shepherd’s crook and love your people.
4. Love your community
Loving your community isn’t just giving away water bottles to get more people to come to your church. Loving your community means letting the pain and the brokenness around your church break your heart. Loving your community means bringing freedom to the prisoners, water to the thirsty, bread to the hungry, shelter to the homeless. Loving your community means finding the people lost in the cracks and caring for them when no one else does.
The sad secret of ministry is that many pastors wouldn’t wish their lives on anyone.
Their prayer life, if it exists at all, is dry, their families feel abandoned, and the pastor is empty. There is a constant drive for more that will never be satisfied. In contrast; a life of loving Jesus, loving your family, loving your people and loving your community is a life you can invite people into. That is a goal worth pursuing.