Small Church Ministry
Only In a Small Church: Sometimes You Gotta Kill Cockroaches
Principles that make sense in a big church don't always work in a smaller one.
  • Empowering other competent leaders, not just delegating the tasks
  • Identifying my strengths and then finding others who are different than me to manage around my weaknesses
  • Hiring an assistant, someone who’s not a secretary, but rather a leader and a project manager
  • Surround myself with problem-solvers, rather than problem-messengers

He concludes the list by saying, “I’m typically the problem when my day is filled with killing cockroaches.”

To which I have to respond…

If your day is filled with killing cockroaches, either you’re the problem, or… you’re a small church pastor.

…You Might Be a Small Church Pastor

Let’s take a look at Tony’s list again. There’s not a bad idea in the bunch. But they don’t match reality for most small church pastors.

  • Blocking out time to dream? If you’re bi-vocational, you barely have time to sleep.
  • Empowering, not just delegating competent leaders? How about finding one, just one person who’ll volunteer to help out and show up on time.
  • Finding others to manage around my weaknesses? (See above problem)
  • Hiring an assistant/project manager? Which of the 35 people in the church would be able to do that? And on what (non-existent) budget?
  • Surround myself with problem-solvers, not problem-messengers? That roar you heard was small church pastors around the world laughing out loud. What some people call problem-messengers, many of us lovingly call “our congregation”.

Let me repeat. Tony’s list isn’t wrong. Every point is valid. When you’re a manager, you need to prioritize your schedule, hire problem-solvers and make better use of your time and talents. CEOs who kill cockroaches will not be as effective as CEOs who hire cockroach-killers.

But in a small church, the CEO analogy doesn’t apply. Small churches don’t follow a business or city model, we follow a family model.

And small church pastors aren’t like city managers or CEOs. We’re more like older siblings.

Families don’t operate well under CEOs – or under an older sibling trying to act like a CEO.

Families don’t want to be managed, they want to be led. And they want to be loved.

Families don’t want to be managed, they want to be led. And they want to be loved.

And when you’re part of a family, even the leader of a family, you do things for your family that you wouldn’t necessarily do for your co-workers.

Sometimes you gotta kill cockroaches.

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April 11, 2017 at 2:04 AM

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