Chris Stephens Pastor Central Baptist Church Sulfur Springs, Texas
Most pastors see themselves as superheroes. Some believe they are unstoppable like Superman; some believe they are the Terminator, taking everyone that opposes them out. Still others believe they can and must do everything like a modern day MacGyver. Truth is we are not to do ministry alone. The Lord told Moses to gather 70 men, and He would place in them a spirit of care and concern to bear the burden of the people.
Pastors need to learn they cannot do it all and must have others around them to accomplish the work. Whether we call them officers, leaders, deacons, or elders, we need them and need to know how to work WITH them. Some hindrances to working with officers include: insecurity, lack of self-esteem, pride, or even laziness. We cannot allow these things to hinder our ministry or keep us from pouring ourselves into others and allowing them to be a blessing to our ministry. So how do we work with our officers to ensure unity, love, and success in our ministry?
1. Give them a vision they can see, understand, and implement. Remember someone will lead, someone will cast a vision, and someone will give direction to the ministry – that must be you!
2. Let them have input. Every officer comes equipped with a brain, so let them use it. Chances are they have been there longer than you have, and their insight is invaluable in making decisions regarding ministry. Listen to their ideas, acknowledge them, use what is good, and graciously decline what is not. As stated, it is amazing what can be done when we don’t care who gets the credit.
3. Spend much time with them. Spend personal time with them: this shows you care. Spend prayer time with them: this shows you love. Spend planning time with them: this shows you lead.
4. Let them do what you ask them to do. Don’t micromanage. There is always more than one way to do something, and they may have a better way. With that in mind, hold them accountable. You cannot expect what you don’t inspect.
5. Trust them. Don’t see them as an enemy. They will make mistakes, do things wrong, even say the wrong thing at times. It isn’t intentional, personal, or a coup to get you out. Trust them, and when they make a mistake love them, encourage them, and teach them so it doesn’t happen again.
Leadership. Whether it is working with officers, members, or even outsiders, it takes the three “L”s: Listen, Love, and Lead. If you will listen to them and love them, you can lead them.