The church belongs to Jesus.
It is not owned by its denomination, its donors, its members, its staff or its lead pastor.
Jesus said he would build his church – and he’s not about to give up that ownership to us or our ideas.
As a pastor, this is a lesson I need to remind myself of regularly, so I thought I’d share that reminder with you as well.
Why The Church Exists
The church does not exist to give us an audience for our ideas, projects or egos. It exists to fulfill Christ’s purposes. Our role is to equip the church members to enact those purposes, both inside and outside the church walls.
The church exists to make Jesus known, not to make pastors famous.
Yet we keep making the same mistakes over and over again. We (try to) take control because without our strong hand on the wheel (we think) the church will fall to pieces. The budget won’t be met. The membership won’t grow. The ten year vision won’t be realized.
The Pastor’s Role
This happens in churches of every size and type. From the charismatic founding pastor of the high-energy, non-denominational megachurch, to the long-term, patriarchal pastor of the traditional, centuries-old congregation.
We have big ideas. Grand projects. Exciting opportunities. And it’s tempting to use the resources at our disposal – namely the people, building and finances of the church we pastor – to bring those about.
But it’s not our job to get a group of people to agree with us and carry out our vision. No matter how good that vision might be.
As a pastor, it’s our calling to help the church body (re)discover God’s purposes together, then participate in them as the Holy Spirit leads us all.
If we want to build a platform, a project or a ministry based on our ideas, we need to start a parachurch ministry – or a for-profit business. Not use a church body to carry them out for us.
The Pastor’s Focus
The focus should never be on the pastor, but on Jesus.
- Not on the preaching, but the equipping.
- Not on the presentation, but the discipling.
- Not on the music, but the worship.
- Not on the building, but the gathering.
- Not on the platform, but the people.
- Not on the packed (or vacant) seats, but on the empty cross.
Always and only.
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