Pastors have incredibly important, eternal responsibilities—but the role’s not always an easy one. Below are seven tough tasks we must do. I encourage you to read this post, pray for your pastor (or for other pastors if you are a pastor), and invite others to pray with you as well.
- Raising up great leaders . . . to send them out. Our responsibility is not to hoard the best workers in God’s kingdom; it’s to raise them up, equip them well, and rejoice when God calls them to help other churches or reach unreached people groups.
- Disciplining church members . . . because you love them. My experiences with church discipline make me not want to do it again—but I know my role as pastor may demand I lead in that direction. I have to remind myself over and over again that discipline is not punitive; it’s loving.
- Preaching the Word freshly . . . after you’ve preached it for years. Too often, we let the Word become stale in our own lives and in our preaching. Proclamation becomes routine – and that should never happen since the Word is always fresh and alive.
- Hiring strong staff members . . . knowing other churches will likely come after your best. It just happens, whether we like it or not. I suppose the only way to avoid this issue completely is to hire staff that nobody else would ever want—and who would do that?
- Loving all of our church members . . . while we’re working to grow our churches beyond our own capacity. I realize that some leaders argue against extensive church growth for this very reason—”how can you love and care for people you don’t know?”—but I don’t land there. The pastor’s job is, for certain, to assure that all church members are loved, even though he must realize he cannot be equally close to everyone.
- Working to provide for our family . . . while we also push believers to be sacrificial and self-denying. I’ve been that pastor who wrongly assumed that accepting a low salary was the godliest thing I could do, without sufficient regard for my family. Frankly, I still wrestle with this issue.
- Staying positive and optimistic . . . while we deal daily with struggles, failures, trials, and pain of life and death. Sometimes it would be easy to just give up, to follow the world’s leading into disappointment and frustration. Pastors, though, must be people of faith even if no one else in the room is.
So, what do we do as we seek to pastor well? These suggestions might seem elementary and obvious, but that’s the point: we often miss the most basic steps we can take to lead well:
- Stay in the Word. Have a reading plan, and let God speak to you each day.
- Stay on your knees. The best pastors I know have prayer in their DNA.
- Keep evangelizing. Being outwardly focused can help you deal with a lot of internal church struggle.
- Keep seeking friends. We sometimes struggle as pastors because we fight battles alone. That’s not the way God intended.
- Keep learning. Take advantage of opportunities you have to continue growing as a leader.
Pastors, what would you add?