Pastor, I am convinced one of the most kingdom-minded things you can do for your church is to lead the church as if you aren’t going to be there next year. (BTW, this may equally apply to other fields of leadership.)
Yes, you were probably called there to lead. The church looks to you for that role. But the reality is you don’t know how long you will be there. And when you leave your role the church needs to be able to function without you.
In my consulting/coaching work, churches often ask me to help in times of transition. Usually the pastor has recently left – for a variety of reasons – and the church is scrambling to find leadership. The pastor held too many things close-fisted that no one really knows how to continue current operations. The church often ends up in a panic mode and it negatively impacts staff, lay leadership and the congregation.
Stay as long as you want to stay. Certainly, stay as long as God allows you to stay. I love and honor those who have stayed in long-term pastorates. That isn’t easy and not how God has used our ministry. But, regardless of how long you plan or hope to stay, don’t position the church to function only with you there.
Part of being a Kingdom-minded pastor means you must:
- Don’t build the changes around you.
- Make sure others know the “why” behind changes.
- Empower other people.
- Share responsibilities.
- Utilize teams to help make decisions.
- Bring people in on decision-making.
- Fight the urge to control everything that happens.
If you follow this blog at all you know I encourage good leadership. Therefore, I certainly would never advise a pastor not to lead. Yet, part of leadership is preparing the people and organizations we lead for the unknown future. That means helping them exist and thrive even after we are no longer their leader.
What would happen to the church if you left today? How healthy would it continue to be?
As I write this you have a year ahead of you to prepare your church for the next great season. What changes do you need to make in how you are leading?