5. Casting Vision for the Future
I Peter 5:2 (Pastors should be) taking the oversight thereof.
Each local church is unique. Although we all have the same message (the Gospel) and mission (advance it), we will not all have the same methods for doing so. Therefore, God gives the church a pastor.
A Pastor is to develop a deep sense of what the church is to do, how they are to do it, when they are to do it, where they are to do it, and why they are to do it. He does so by spending time in prayer and study to find God’s direction for the church. Bringing this clear vision to the congregation invites the whole church to be unified in purpose.
The Pastor is to be a leader who empowers managers. A manager will execute a leader’s vision with great efficiency, but the leader must set direction and explain the vision to his managers.
4. Building an Effective Leadership Team
Titus 1:5 For this cause left I thee in Crete, that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee.
These decisions are key. Pick the right people and it will catapult you to the next level. Pick the wrong people and it will drag you into a pit of despair. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic here but I really don’t think this point can be overemphasized. The success of Southern Hills has everything to do with employing and empowering the right men and women.
You need people who will effectively execute your vision with great efficiency. The Assimilation System I have developed would be merely a nice idea on paper if it weren’t for the managerial skills of Fred Murray. The worship services would be vapid and flat without the expertise of Jason Coombes. The public image of our church would be dull and colorless without the intense efforts of Steve Miller. The many ministries of our church would be without volunteers if not for the dedication of Zeb Greenfield.
There are two big mistakes that are easily made if the church is not vigilant. First, they employ the wrong people through a weak interview process and underdeveloped hiring philosophy. Second, they do not empower those they have employed with real decision-making ability.
3. Leading the Local Congregation
I & II Timothy
I have a deep love for Paul’s letters to Timothy. In these two short epistles, we learn how a pastor is to lead his local church. In them, we learn that a pastor is to be a person of prayer who is taking great time to pray for and with his flock. He is there to offer spiritual guidance and Biblical counsel to all who are in his ministry.
One of my main responsibilities is to spend time with the people in my church. I love sitting at a coffee house discussing theology, ministry ideas, or personal struggles with the wonderful people in our congregation. Heather and I schedule many hours a week with individual Christians who are either searching for Christ, growing in the faith, or contemplating their next step in life.
We now have a large group of deacons, lay-shepherds, and small group leaders who act as an extension of our pastoral ministry. These gifted lay-leaders pray for their groups, visit with them, and provide Biblical guidance. They are the true servant leaders in our midst and we thank the Lord for their effort.
2. Preaching the Word of God
I Peter 5:2 Feed the flock of God which is among you.
II Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
The moment when a chef serves his signature dish to an expectant patron, this is why he cooks. The moment when an author spots her published work in the hands of an engrossed reader on a park bench, this is why she writes. The moment a band hears their song on the radio for the first time, this is why they perform. Sunday morning is that moment for every preacher.
Hours of deep study, historical research, and prayerful angst have been blended together and are ready to be served. Powerful metaphors, personal anecdotes, and a few bad jokes have been added to enhance the flavor and bring to surface the natural meaning of the selected passage. Clutching a Bible in one hand and a smattering of notes in the other the preacher takes his place. Once again, his entire week has led to this moment.
He watches as the living Word begins to do its’ miraculous thing. He looks into the eyes of the people while he teaches. He sees light. His prayers are being answered in real time. God is saving them. The Holy Spirit is getting through to the pastor’s beloved flock. They are actually connecting to God through this little speech. Rhapsody! Complete and utter joy! Nothing else can explain the exhilaration of genuine Bible preaching, and then exhilaration gives way to appreciation, and finally a realization. The preacher often leaves his post overcome by a tremendous feeling of accomplishment coupled with humility. He is surprised and grateful that God would use him once again.
1. Maintaining A Strong Walk with God
I Peter 5:3 neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
The most important task of the pastor is to maintain a personal relationship with Jesus through private worship, prayer, and Bible study. He must not simply be the purveyor of ancient rituals but a person who has a genuine relationship with the Ancient of Days. A pastor is to know Jesus and make Him known to others. This is why he must daily meet with Jesus before meeting with anyone else. If a pastor is not walking with the Great Shepherd he has no business leading the flock.
Which task did I miss? Hat other responsibilities would you include? I would like to hear from you. Please comment below:
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