But most of all,” Harold said, “he’s really aware of what’s going on. He knows everything that’s happening.” Harold and Darrell had been raving about their pastor. They talked about his acts of kindness, his fine preaching, and his administrative ability.

I knew their pastor. Everything they said was true. And the half had not been told. He was what I’d call the ubiquitous minister—seeming to be everywhere at once.

“I’ll bet he even does janitorial work,” I said, laughing. “True,” Darrell replied, his eyes beaming. “Why, one morning I came to church and saw him sweeping out the kitchen area.”

For some people that’s the ideal minister. He (or she) is everything wrapped into one package. He takes care of the church, the people, the budget, the committees, and he knows everything that goes on in Sunday school, youth activities, and social affairs.

But nagging thoughts trouble me about the ubiquitous minister. After all the dust from his swirling activities settles, is that what he really wants? Is that what the Lord wants?

Plaudits from the congregation supply nourishment for the hungry ego. It’s even better when they tack on, “I don’t see how you do it all. You’re always around. Mr. Everywhere. No matter how busy, you always make time.” Although the minister’s ego expands from these words, it may turn out to be unhealthy for the congregation.

For instance, Gene became pastor of a congregation with a membership listed as nearly 600 but with a regular attendance of 125. Within six months, Gene had activities humming. Attendance picked up, new programs abounded. The budget doubled in three years. But in ...

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