This is the primary shift that most small church pastors (and quite frankly, some big church pastors) need to make. We need to move from the chaplaincy model of doing ministry for people, to the biblical pastoral model of equipping God’s people to do ministry.
Equipping God’s People To Become Equippers
When we start pastoring in this, more biblical fashion, everything changes.
Yes, we will be setting the church up to break growth barriers, if that’s what God has in mind for that congregation. But even if the church never breaks through the 200 barrier (or 100, or 50, or…) equipping God’s people creates a much healthier, far more effective church than the typical congregation that expects too much of their pastor and too little of themselves.
When we step up and start fulfilling the Pastoral Prime Mandate, we will discover that many of the people we equip to do ministry will also be gifted to step up to become equippers themselves.
Whether an individual congregation grows bigger or not, when God’s people start getting equipped, the church becomes healthier, stronger and more effective (and no, numerical growth is not inevitable, even for healthy churches, as I’ve outlined in many places, including here and here).
Pastor, your church may not be called to break the 200 barrier (although if you do, that’s great, too). And you don’t need to become a crew chief instead of a pastor, if that’s not your calling.
But we all need to become more biblical in our pastoral role. We need to become better at making disciples, equipping God’s people and helping some of them become equippers, as well.
This is not just a strategy for numerical growth, it’s an essential element for health and effectiveness. As such, it must always be seen as a central component in fulfilling the call of God on your life, your ministry and the church’s mission.
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