Being the Pastor that Your Church Wants to Follow
Jesus said, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.” Matthew 5:14-15
You are the leader. People see you and want to follow you because, as the church leader, they believe you are a person of HIGH MORAL CHARACTER.
The Day I Wanted to Quit the Ministry
I’ll never forget the day; it was Labor Day weekend of 2006. I had my first job performance review in six years. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life (certainly during my professional life). For two hours, I listened to two elders of the church share everything I was doing wrong in ministry (they had a legal pad with pages of examples of my laziness and dysfunction in ministry). The truth is, I was a lazy pastor. But laziness (and the pages of examples that the elders brought) was just the FRUIT of a bigger problem in my life – I had some character issues that I needed to address.
Let’s look at the skills I needed to learn to become a pastor that the church family wanted to follow.
6 Skills to Learn that the Church Family Wants to See in Their Pastor
Skill 1 – The Ability to Execute a Plan
To be a leader that your church wants to follow, you need to execute a plan. The pastor MUST make tough decisions to implement a plan, saying NO with authority to anything that draws your attention away from your mission and vision of the church.
Skill 2 – The Ability to Connect at a deep and vulnerable level
The church is more than an organization; it’s a family with people on a journey, for the family to join the pastor on the journey they need to know that they are genuinely cared for. You might be a great communicator in the pulpit, but if you cannot connect with the heart of the church family member (one-on-one), then you are only a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal. As the saying goes, “People don’t care how much you know till they know how much you care.”
Skill 3 – The ability to Clearly Communicate
Clear communication in a church is not just about preaching the word of God; it’s also about clearly communicating the mission, vision, core values, and strategic plan of your church. Without a clear vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29)
Skill 4 – The Ability to LIVE the Vision and Mission
It’s one thing to have a mission and vision statement for your church, and it’s another thing to believe it and live it out. You are the pastor, and you have to bring the energy for the mission and vision. You are the cheerleader for the vision. You have to Walk AND Live what you are talking about.
Skill 5 – The Ability to Influence
Influence is “stepping in the path of others.” Your church family member is on a path; your role as the pastor is to step into their path and ask them for change. Leadership influence requires two equally essential ingredients, FRUSTRATION, and LOVE.
As the pastor, you have to KNOW your church members so that you can give them the right amount of frustration and love at any given time.
Skill 6 – The Ability to Live in Reality
To live in reality is to address the TOUGH issues of ministry. Your church family needs to see that you will address challenging issues (not just from the pulpit, but in the foyer too). What’s more, the complex problems you have to address might be with yourself. Can you be REAL with your church family with who you are, your weakness, and hidden faults/sins? A person of high character will be HONEST with their church about the REALITY of their life.
In 2006 I had one of the most challenging days of ministry as I went through the job performance review. It was the worst day and the best day. I could have and maybe even should have been fired. I wasn’t. And over time, I had to dig down deep and address some ISSUES in my life to be a pastor the church wants to follow.