“Where is the Smith family (name changed)? I have not seen them at church in several weeks?” My staff responded, “I thought you knew, Pastor? They left the church two weeks ago. They said they did not like the way you are running the church. They felt like you were leading the church like a business.”
I called the family to let them know they had been missed at church. Their response confirmed what I had heard from the staff. “We came by the church to meet with you, but you were not there. The secretary told us the best way to meet with you would be to make an appointment. You are not running a doctor’s office; you are leading a church. We should not have to make an appointment. Pastors are supposed to be available 24/7. We left to find a church where the pastor is more available.”
I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and saw the smiling faces of a couple I know. They pastor a great church in my area. As I hit the “like” button I read the caption… “Enjoying a rare date night.”
I was happy for the couple but wondered why date nights have to be “rare”.
Thankfully, I am in a season where I intentionally and consistently spend time with my wife and kids, but it hasn’t always been this way.
As a pastor finding a balance between work and life has been one of my biggest challenges. There have been seasons where ministry dominated my life. I neglected my time with God and my family. As we all know, this is a sure recipe for burnout.
I remember the conversation like it was yesterday. “What is your vision for our church?” My wife and I were sitting before seven elders in our pre-hiring interview. Inwardly I thought, “How could I have a clear vision for this church? I am brand new here.” Outwardly, I gave a generic response like: “My vision is that we would be a healthy church. I want us to faithfully reach lost people and make disciples.” I suppose my response was sufficient…I got the job.
It is commonly believed in churches that one of your primary responsibilities is to set the vision and direction for the church. I have heard it taught that pastors should get away for a few days to pray and hear from God. He then comes back and shares with the congregation the future God has for them.
Not long ago I was having coffee with a young pastor and he asked, "Can you recommend any good books for me to read? I want to grow as a leader." The question warmed my heart. I always have a book nearby, and the education I have received from reading has been invaluable.
One of my favorite questions to ask people is, "What is the best book you have read recently?" I'll never forget asking this question to a pastor, and him responding with, "I can't remember the last book I read." When I asked how he grew as a leader, he replied with one word: "mentors."
The conversation reminded me there are many ways to grow. However, I still believe reading is one of the best ways to learn. With the availability of audio books, even those who don't like to read can gain valuable knowledge.
I am always on the hunt for my next book to continue learning. I believe the old adage to be true, "leaders are readers."
It is interesting that when pastors get together we often ask each other the size of our churches. Usually the question is framed like this: “How many are you guys running on Sundays?”
Why is the size of our churches so important? Why is size the most often used gauge of health and effectiveness? Why are the largest churches and the highest giving churches awarded at denominational meetings?
Why do magazines publish annual lists called “The 100 largest churches in America” and “The 100 fastest growing churches”?
What does this say about us?
Hi! I'm Loren Hicks. I am follower of Jesus, a husband, a father, a friend, and for the past