Arte you willing to Manage your Personal Life for His Glory
When I was with a church growth-consulting firm, we did a major study of pastors, and came up with some startling statistics. We found that 90% of pastors work more than 50 hours a week. One out of three pastors state that being in the ministry is clearly hazardous for his family. One out of three pastors feel totally burned up within the first five years of ministry. Over 70% of pastors do not have someone they would consider a friend, and very few pastors had any close friends. Ninety percent of pastors feel they were not adequately trained to cope with ministry coordination and the demands of the congregation. Seventy-five percent of pastors experience a significant crisis that was directly due to stress in the ministry. These are reasons why the divorce rate among pastors is rising, and pastor's children rarely stay in the church or keep their faith. Forty percent of the pastors reported serious conflicts with their parishioners every month. This happens because the focus is lost or misplaced, accountability is skipped (thinking we are above it), and families become cluttered in confusion. How tragic!
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?
Q: Ask yourself, if your role is more important than the growth and well being of the church.
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?
I cannot tell you how many countless times I will be on my way home to my family when someone just shows up at the office to talk. Sometimes it is a crisis, but most of the time it is loneliness. Some times they show up at my home or I meet them by chance at the grocery store. I love people, and naturally will spend all of my time and efforts to be with them. This is one of the main areas I love about pastoral ministry. That was all right when I was single, but now, as a married man, I have other priorities that need my attention. As ministers of God, (and as Christians, we are all ministers) we need to be attentive to others, be listeners, and encouragers. However, we also are not to neglect our own web of relationships and family. We cannot trade the fracture of the family for poor management of His people, thinking we are doing our best for ministry. Poor ministry and misguided self-management will fracture your family and ministry more completely than just about anything else. Thus, we need to set limits, or boundaries.
A boundary is a fence to ward off potential problems and to protect those in its guardianship. It sets a parameter to be a guide, as in computer programming where parameters keep the program in the right areas of operation. When we have those right areas of operation in our personal and ministerial lives, we will be more effective for His service. In addition, these principles are not only for all Christians, but also especially for pastors and leaders because they have more responsibility.
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.
Copyright 1988, 1998, 2000 Richard J. Krejcir Into Thy Word
Copyright 1988, 1998, 2000 Richard J. Krejcir Into Thy Word