Have you ever had a chat with someone who was constantly looking over your shoulder to see if there’s someone better to talk to?
A lot of us may be doing that to the church we’re pastoring.
One of the main reasons many churches stay unhealthy is that too many pastors aren’t putting their heart into the ministry they have. Instead, they’re looking for something bigger.
This makes the church they are supposed to be pastoring feel overlooked and neglected. That’s not a great recipe for a healthy ministry or a healthy church.
What would happen if every pastor of every small church saw their ministry, not as a stepping-stone to something bigger, but as an investment to make with all their heart and soul?
Stepping-Stone Pastorates Are Bad for Pastors, Too
Not only is it toxic for churches when pastors treat them like stepping-stones, it’s toxic for pastors too – and for the pastor’s family.
Too many pastors live like spiritual vagabonds. They move from place-to-place, year after year, without establishing personal, social or spiritual roots. All while preaching (*cough* complaining *cough*) that their congregation members should be making a stronger commitment to their church and putting down spiritual roots. That’s a hard message for a congregation to take seriously from their fifth pastor in a decade – which happened in my current church, until I dug in and stayed 25 years and counting.
Most of the time, pastoral relocation is not because churches want them to leave, but because the pastor is looking for something better – and better is always defined as bigger.
Don’t Leave For Better, Lead Better
No one can pastor a church well while keeping an eye out for something bigger and better. People know when they’re being used.
Yes, we should always strive for more. And we should never settle for less. But we don’t get there by ignoring or belittling the church we’re currently in, or by treating the current congregation as stepping-stones to something better.
We get to a better place by leading the church we’re in to a better place – even if it isn’t a bigger place. And that starts with us making a full commitment to them right here, right now.
There’s a big difference between settling for less, and determining to commit fully to where you are for as long as God has you there.
If you want to pastor a church you love, the solution is simple. Not easy, but simple. Love the church you’re pastoring for as long as you’re called to pastor it.
If you want a better church, don’t go looking in another place, work together on leading your current church to a better place.
That starts with a pastor whose heart is in a better place about the ministry God has given them.
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