Pastors: Don't Put Church First

Discussion in 'Pastoral Ministries' started by gb93433, Mar 27, 2012.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    Pastors: Don't Put Church First
    by Herbert Cooper

    I’ve heard pastors say if you take care of the church God will take care of your home. I totally disagree with that statement. The church is not married to the pastor, the church is married to Jesus. I have a bride and it’s not People’s Church, it’s Tiffany Cooper. The Bible says in 1 Timothy 3:4-5 that if a pastor can’t manage their home well then they will have a tough time managing the house of God well.

    Our first priority is to lead well at home, and secondly to lead well at the church. This can be difficult for a pastor and sometimes we don’t know how to practically manage the home and the church well at the same time.
    I want to share with you some practical thoughts on how to manage home and church well.

    First, I had to understand that there are different seasons in ministry and to be realistic about the seasons. There are some seasons at church that demand more of my time. My wife and I had to learn to communicate and prepare for those seasons. When we approached super busy seasons with realistic expectations, it helped us navigate those seasons without being angry and resenting one another. Here are a few examples: 1. When we first started the church, it was a super crazy and a busy season that demanded an insane amount of our time and energy. 2. Whenever we have launched a capitol campaign to buy land and build buildings, it required more of my time and energy. 3. When we built our first building and I was driving the entire process, it took a ton of time and energy to get the job done. It’s important to communicate and have realistic expectations during busy work seasons.
     
  2. Tom Butler

    Tom Butler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Messages:
    9,031
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm thinking of a pastor who came to a church several years ago. During discussions with the Search Committee, he made it clear that there were going to be times when he simply was not available. When he had the day off, he was off, not on call.

    He did leave the door open for deaths in the church, and extreme emergencies, but otherwise, he was to be left alone.

    When I heard about it, I thought "wow, that was pretty cheeky." But the more I thought about it, the more sense it made.

    Then, there was one of my former pastors, who, early in his pastorate, passed out a questionairre, listing various pastoral responsibilities, and asking members to suggest how much time each week he should spend on each one of them.

    Among them, sermon prep, personal devotion, hospital visitation, outreach and personal witnessing, denominational activities, program planning, counseling and the like.

    When he tabulated the surveys and averaged them out, he reported back to congregation about their expectations. To spend as much time as needed on the various activities he would have to work 122 hours a week! (There are 168 hours in a week). He pointed out that the remaining 46 hours a week average out a little over six hours a day left for sleep, eating, family time,etc.

    The problem was obvious. He said, "I can't do that." He pointed out that he spent at least 15 hours a week preparing two sermons and a Bible study. The conclusion was also obvious, he said. "There are some things in our church life that if you, the members, don't do them, they won't get done."

    He continued. "I'm going to carry out my pastoral responsibilities. I'm also going to do some things because I, too, am a member of this church, not just the pastor. But will not be your member for you. I will not do your jobs for you."

    Then he wrapped it up. "My Lord comes first in my life. But my family is a close second and y'all are next. Don't expect me to neglect my family."

    No pastor had ever talked to us that way, but it surely cleared the air at the beginning of his pastorate.

    Sure, there were times when long hours were required. But some ground rules had been set and they served both him and us well over the years.
     
  3. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    Some people place such demands on their pastor that one wonders how they ever do anything in life and think for themself. The job of a pastor is to equip the saints to do the work of ministry not do it for them. Doing it for them is like a parent doing everything for their child. The child will be weak and expect the parent to do everything. When the child fails then he blames the parent. My impression of most pew sitters is that they are about three months in the Lord in terms of spiritual maturity. I have seen the same story play out many times when I lead someone to Christ and within a few months they are doing some kind of ministry.
     
  4. mont974x4

    mont974x4
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    2,565
    Likes Received:
    1
    I have instituted some guidelines in my current ministry to guard against this. I am an associate pastor now and knowing that I will be moving on to a senior pastorate has encouraged me to pray about this and consider the statement I will be making when I am in talking with a future church. I think it is best to set the boundaries early.
     
  5. saturneptune

    saturneptune
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    13,977
    Likes Received:
    0
    Very excellent post. Most people, even in organizations outside of church, are just plain lazy and expect to be waited on. For example, if one is a member of a union, 90% never come to the meetings, never contribute one thing, but scream when they get in trouble with management that they want help.

    In the same way, pew sitters complain about the empty pews but never show up for visitation. Pew sitters come to pot lucks expecting the tables to be set, the meal prepared, and someone to clean up so they had stuff their fat face. Pew sitters never give a second thought to the time and talent it takes to present the special music each Sunday, and are so lazy, they do not even listen to the words. They are in lala land thinking about their rush to the chosen restaurant after church.

    The Pastor is not there to subsidize a fat slob who will not lift one finger to serve the Lord. The same people who complain about not being visited in a hospital enough times never visited anyone else. The same people who complain about the van being late never drove one route when they were younger. The same people who complain about the loud kids running around the church never made one effort to get kids to church. The same people who will not ever speak when the Pastor is off because they are not good public speakers sure put lots of effort is communicating gossip in the remote corners of the church.

    The Bible is quite clear on the subject, as Paul says, we are all parts of a unit, the local church, who work together as one unit, and that unit is Jesus Christ. A pew sitter or a member who has not been in decades is not a working part.
     
  6. gb93433

    gb93433
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2003
    Messages:
    15,496
    Likes Received:
    6
    So true. It seems that so many talk about how bad the schools are today. I was involved in the school system up until recently and very few show up to the school board meetings and in many cases not very many show up to an open house. My program was one of the top programs in America and the state I was in visited me and developed the state standards after my program. Every year my students won competitions. Yet there was always one or more parents who complained about how demanding I was.

    It seems that the problem of laziness and taking short cuts has been around for as long as man has.

    We need to be prepared to take a stance and support those who work hard at trying to help and encourage us to do well. In a classroom a student may voice his opinion but there are standards. In a church someone may voice and opinion and they are too often able to gossip. In a classroom I had a choice to have the student removed for violating the class standards and disrupting the education of other students. Too often people who disrupt a church and cause trouble are allowed to continue without the leadership backing the pastor.

    A good friend of mine who pastors in another evangelical denomination told me that after about five years in the church he started that a man started causing trouble and he told the leadership about the trouble. He never had to say another word about it. They told him that they would take care of the problem and they did. He stayed there for about 15 years. He was ready to leave after five if the problem had not been dealt with.
     

Share This Page

Loading...