Pastor, there are some things your church can’t do for you.
They simply can’t.
Please understand. I love the church. Greatly. I’m a local church guy. I was in the business world, as a pastor, and now in my new role serving the greater Church. I have often said, “the church is the hope of the world.” I believe it.
Of course, the church is a body of believers and there are churches that live out their mission well and others who don’t. That’s not news to anyone who has been a pastor very long – or a church member.
But even the greatest church simply can’t do some things for the pastor.
And, if the pastor thinks they can, or leave it up to them to do some things, they will someday find out the hard way they can’t.
I’ve also watched many times as pastors didn’t do these things the church couldn’t do for them – or relied on the church to do them. They may have attempted to meet the demands of the church, but somehow expected the church to be providing these needs. In the end it caused a huge void in the pastor’s life.
Some pastors have even crashed and burned waiting for someone else to do for them what only they could do.
Again, you may have the greatest church of your ministry career, but regardless of how wonderful the church is they can’t do all the things for you that your soul, personal life and ministry demands.
Pastor, you will have to do some things yourself — by God’s grace and the Spirit of God’s help — if they’re going to be done.
Here are 7 things your church can’t adequately do for the pastor:
Hold you accountable. The church can’t guard your heart and character. It doesn’t matter how many rules or committees they have, if you want to ruin your life, you’ll find a way around the structure.
You are ultimately responsible to God, your family and the church for staying true to who God has called you to be.
Love your family and protect your time with them. The church may love your family. They may respect your time with them, but if you really want to protect your family — you’ll have to take the lead role here.
You have to protect what matters most to you.
Understand the demands on your time. The church can’t and likely won’t. And you’ll only be disappointed if you expect them to.
All jokes aside, they know you work more than Sunday, but they don’t know all the pressure placed upon your role. They can’t understand anymore than you can understand what it’s like to sit at their desk, or operate that machine they operate, or drive that police car or teach that classroom. We only know what we know and we can’t fully understand what another person’s experience is until we experience it.
You must ultimately own your calendar and what goes on it.
Ensure you discipline your Sabbath time. You can teach the church and they can know it intellectually, but if they need you they aren’t going to necessarily understand that you’re “on a Sabbath”.
If you’re going to rest — if you’re going to have a Biblcially commanded Sabbath (yes, that’s for pastor’s too) — you’ll have to discipline yourselves to take it.
Read your mind. People are usually waiting to be led. They are looking for a vision to follow. They can’t follow an unspoken vision. It’s dangerous to assume they know what hasn’t been shared. And when people don’t understand something they make up their own version of the story.
You will have to communicate – and communicate again and again – what God is placing on your heart for the future of the church. The clearer you are and the more you communicate the more likely they will be to understand and be willing to follow.
Build your sense of self-worth. If you’re waiting to hear how wonderful the message was, what a good job you’re doing, or how much the church loves you in order to feel you’re doing a good job — you’re going to be very disappointed most of the time. In fact, the longer you do something well the less “applauds” you will receive. Even if you’re excellent at what you do, eventually excellence for you because average in the minds of the church.
You’ll have to find your sense of self-worth in your relationship with God and living out His purpose for your life — the same place you’re hopefully encouraging the church to find their sense of self-worth.
Completely discern your call from God. Some people may be used of God to speak into your life, but your personal calling is between you and God. And it is ultimately to God’s purposes even more than to the local church’s purposes. The church won’t always understand when you’re “called away” or when you feel “led” to lead in a certain direction. And you can’t expect them to. They have their own callings from God as well.
You and your family have to guard your own calling – and stay or go where God calls you to at the time. For me personally, I’ve never been able to see very far down the road into that call.
Bottom line of this post: Don’t expect others to do for you what only you — by God’s grace and God’s Spirit — can do.