How well do you Manage your personal life, is it with godly terms?
(Original study was done at the Charles E. Fuller Institute of Church Growth in 1992. This study was recently replicated by the Francis A. Schaeffer Institute of Church Leadership Development in 2005, 812 pastors surveyed, no significant variance was observed!)
Accountability is extremely important in the life of the church, especially for the leadership. Leaders are mere stewards to the Bride of Christ, the Church. It does not belong to them. It is not their stomping grounds or their toy. It is not a building, nor a set of programs, or even a set of ideologies. The Church is the people of God. If the people are at McDonalds, then the church is at McDonalds. The building is the building, which belongs to God, too, and for which we are entrusted with its care. The building may be called the church, meaning a place for gathering, but never forget that the Church is the people who dwell in the building to worship and grow in Him.
Because of our stewardship responsibilities to the care of His flock, leaders are never to see themselves as exempt from the daily concerns of life, thinking they are above it. You are not. We are all called to engage in the life of the church with our full endeavor, and to guard ourselves from rationalizing that since we are in leadership, we are better than anyone else. We are not!
Questions for the Pastor and Leadership to ask themselves and one another:
Q: Are you too arrogant to see the adventure of normal daily life?
If so, then you will not have a grasp on the small things, and you will fail on the larger things of life. Life is not to be looked at as being mundane. Let us see ourselves as His children, embracing the small before we seize the large. Let us see that we become men and women of true faith, set apart for our Lord's service, regardless of if the task is too small and insignificant for our ego and perceived position.
Q: Are you so eager to venture in new experiences of life that you ignore what is right in front of you?
If so, you will not engage in the responsibilities that God calls you to. What are the responsibilities? You will discover this by knowing your spiritual gifts and natural abilities, and growing in the maturity of your faith through Scripture, Biblical teaching, prayer, and worship.
Q: What are your priorities and motives? Are they Christ centered or self centered?
Q: If you are having success in your career or relationships, are you prideful of them? If so, why? Does God want you to be prideful? For the answer look up the word pride in a concordance!
Q: Do you have a grasp on your personality and your areas of strength and weakness?
Q: Are you accountable to a group of people or person who knows you well?
If not, you will soon fall off the road of life, crash, and burn.
Q: Is your head full of Scripture, and your heart full of sin and contempt?
Remember Psalm 10:4
Q: Knowledge puffs up, but love and care builds up. Do you agree with this?
Q: Do you know how to lead yourself and others deeper into the heart of God, to worship and glorify Him?
Psalm 87:7; Proverbs 14:16-17; Isaiah 40:28; 16:32; Matthew 13:25-26; Mark 8:34-38; Ephesians 4:26-27; James 1: 19-20; 29-31
Q: Is your deepest desire in life and pleasure in living dedicated to please Christ? Can you take a hard look at your life and see how others see you, how God sees you?
Q: Are your actions in life the result of your will, your desires, your inspirations, and your motivations; or are they the result of your living a life pleasing to God?
Q: Is there a distinguished reality of the Lordship of Christ, versus the menagerie of living the lie of your desires?
These questions will determine how you manage yourself and the ministry God has entrusted to you. If any of the above areas are neglected, you are possibly headed for breakdown and sin! Be encouraged that we are not to be perfect, but we do need to be the best we can. Let these questions challenge you and spur you on to the right direction. Set up the boundaries. Boundaries are not a fence to keep others out, but are to keep good neighborly relations. They will not eliminate all of the interruptions, because for a pastor or church leader, interruption comes with the territory. We need to embrace and love our call and not be hermits to the people in our care. Boundaries create a healthier atmosphere with balance, a church that has leaders who love and care even more, because one person or group is not running the whole show.
Here are some more time-tested ideas to help you guard your time by setting boundaries to better care for your flock:
1. First have trained deacons or ministry teams to respond to the needs of your congregation.
2. Have trained leaders visit everyone in the church twice a year. Have extra visiting for shut-ins, widows/widowers, and those with special needs.
3. Have a good system of time management. Develop the ability to keep track of appointments, and events with some form of guidelines to keep your time secure within a right sense of priorities.
4. Have people trained to be ushers and greeters who can take care of the visitors. The pastor can also visit them and send letters.
5. Have a telephone system, (cell, pager, number--whatever would work for you) set up as an emergency contact, or chat line so people in need can get in touch with someone. If a member needs to have someone to talk to or has an emergency, they can call that number and whoever is on duty will respond. This frees the pastor and enables that ministry to rotate to several different people. I have found that using a cell phone with an extra battery works best, and it is not that costly. The cell phone can be handed off to whomever is on duty.
6. Make sure you have good ways to relax each day (not just TV), to take your mind off the church.