One of the first steps to figuring out what you do well is to find out what you don’t do well and cross it off your list.
That’s how I ended up being the “go-to small church guy”.
No matter how hard I tried, how much I learned, how often I prayed, or how much expert advice I sought, our church wouldn’t grow big.
Everyone around me was saying “if the church is healthy it will grow.” “If you take these ten steps, your church will grow.” And “if your church isn’t growing, there must be something wrong.”
But it just. Wouldn’t. Grow!
Letting Go Of The Expected
I knew I was called to be a pastor, and I was told that pastors are supposed to help their churches grow, but I couldn’t pull it off.
So I stopped trying.
Now what? What’s left after you give up trying to do what’s expected of you?
You do what you’re called to do, even if it’s unexpected.
For me, that meant I had to cross “pastor a big church” off my to-do list and figure out how to be the best small church pastor I could be.
As it turns out, I can do that. I’m called to do that. And, as a wonderful side bonus, I also have some skill and a calling to help other pastors who are figuring out how do small church well.
By letting go of what I’m not good at, I was able to discover what I’m called to do.
Leading a small church is not what I expected. It even felt wrong to try to be good at it. In fact, I’m regularly told that trying to be good at pastoring a small church is settling for less. It may even be disobedient to the Great Commission.
But I know better.
Cross Stuff Off Your Ministry To-Do List
If you’re a pastor who’s struggling to make your church into something that it’s not, start crossing some things off your list.
Church planting not going well? Cross it off your list. Try revitalizing an existing church instead.
Can’t seem to attract young people? Cross it off your list. Become a church that ministers well to seniors.
Don’t know how to do ministry in the big city? Cross it off your list. There are a lot small town churches that need pastors.
(Or maybe your calling is the reverse of everything above.)
There are no sure things in pastoral ministry.
If you can’t do the kind of ministry that’s expected of you, try the unexpected. There may be a lot more life, joy and ministry there than you ever thought possible.
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