We were walking around Home Depot. It was yet another trip across town to pick up supplies for the church remodeling project. I had been there so many times over the past month, it was starting to feel like a second home. I looked at my wife and said, “I think I would be happy working here.”
Most pastors have had those moments where the stress of ministry has caused them to dream of doing something else. If you are like me, you have even written out your resignation letter a few times.
Over the past year I have been writing to encourage pastors who are tired, weary, frustrated, and discouraged. I write not as an authority figure, but as a fellow-journeyman. This is my first post after taking the summer to rest, reflect, and redirect.
If you have ever felt overwhelmed with the enormity of the pastoral task at hand, I understand. In the past I have written about life/work balance, and have even given suggestions on how to make it happen, but now I’m not sure it is possible.
I saw her out of the corner of my eye. The service was over and she was waiting to speak with me. I was talking and praying with several members, but she waited patiently. I greeted her warmly only to hear these words… “You are not the man of God I thought you were.”
The woman, who had not been in our church long, preceded to tell me why she disagreed with how I was leading the church. “You’re not listening to Holy Spirit”, she said. Predictably, she soon left the church.
I became a lead pastor at age 25. My wife and I had been married for three years, and we had a little baby girl. We had served as youth pastors at another church for two years, getting our feet wet into ministry, but stepping into a lead pastor role was a whole different ball game.
We were in a small West Texas town of 3,000 people. Our little church was not only passed it’s prime, it was barely alive. With a handful of people and a broken down, badly neglected building, we began our pastoral ministry.
I have a growing conviction. God didn’t just call me to pastor a church. He called me to pastor a city. My calling is not just to serve a local body of believers, but to influence a community towards faith in Jesus.
There is a fascinating verse in 1 Samuel 9:6. The servant of Saul says, "Look, in this town there is a man of God; he is highly respected, and everything he says comes true. Let's go there now. Perhaps he will tell us what way to take.” Years ago at a pastors conference I heard a stirring sermon from this verse called, “Is there a man of God in your city?”
When I ask pastors to describe their process for developing church leaders, the conversation often gets very quiet. Most of us believe leadership development is one of a pastors top priorities, but how do you do it?
Have you ever had a leader step down, and you realized there is no one qualified to take their place? I have. One of the mistakes pastors make is putting the wrong person in a leadership role, simply out of necessity. This decision might help in the short-term, but can be a disaster for the long-term.
There have never been more tools for ministry than there are today. Online tools have created ministry opportunities we would have never dreamed of in the past. Who would have imagined 20 years ago the opportunities social media has given us to share our message and engage people outside the wall of our church? But with so many tools available, where do you start?
Here is a list of online tools I am currently using in pastoral ministry. Leave a comment below and share a resource you are using.
When I was six years old, my parents placed their faith in Christ as the result of a tragic, accidental death in our family. By God’s grace we were led to a wonderful small church with a pastor named Marvin Russell. Pastor Russell welcomed our family and faithfully discipled us as new believers. As I reflect on my childhood pastor, what stands out to me the most was his faithfulness. He spent his entire ministry at one church, serving for 42 years.
Inspired by my pastor’s longevity in ministry, I wrote my Master’s Degree thesis on pastoral tenure. During my research I learned the average pastor serves less than four years before transitioning to another church. There are many reasons the short-term pastorate exists. Perhaps, that’s an idea for another post. But, the benefits of serving long-term have many advantages.
A seasoned pastor once told me, “Every pastor has a difficult conversation, they are avoiding.” Is that true for you? Is there a necessary conversation you keep putting off?
Where there are honest relationships, there will be conflict. Churches are no exception. Our churches deal with misunderstandings, improper motives, a lack of clear expectations, failure, and even sin. Learning to be a good leader includes a willingness to have difficult conversations.
On Sunday mornings I sit on the front row of the church. I remember one Sunday, standing during praise and worship, I looked back at how small the crowd was in that particular service. Inwardly, I was so frustrated! “Where is everyone? Why aren’t our people more faithful and committed? What am I even doing here at this church?”
I distinctly remember God speaking to my heart. “If you are more concerned about the attendance than you are worshiping me, then you have turned the crowd size into idolatry. You are here because I have called you here.”
Hi! I'm Loren Hicks. I am follower of Jesus, a husband, a father, a friend, and for the past
Recent Blog Posts
When A Pastor Wants to Quit
What I Learned From A Mini-Sabbatical
50 Mistakes Even Great Pastors Have Made
Advice to First-Time Pastors
Do you Pastor a Church or a City?
A Process to Develop Leaders that Every Pastor Can Use
17 Online Tools I Use As A Pastor