Continuing my thoughts on ways to Bless your pastor.
In my mind today’s post is likely the most important and best way to bless your pastor. The last 2 have been focused on making sure your priorities are straight. Home must be where you expend your energy and effort first and then God has specifically placed you for excellence at your job next, but Christians cannot hide behind either home or their job as an excuse for not investing in a local body of Christ, a local church.
We are called to faithfully participate in the mission of God and that is primarily seen through being a part of a local body. The only way to effectively get involved is by wrestling with and embracing your pastor’s vision.
From my own experience…
When our community pastor first unfolded a vision for shifting community groups to missional communities, I hated it and I pushed back. “We had spent 2 years in our community group and seen God do amazing things, why would I change?” was my thinking. I then had to decide whether I was going to be a dissenting voice among the congregation or seek to understand my pastor and the vision he had spent months discussing, debating, and praying through. I chose the latter and I am grateful for it. Here’s what I learned through the process.
1. I worship my own mind and thinking. I don’t need success to think that I’m right, but if I see even a little measure of success it creates in me a prideful mindset that declares that I’m the ONE that has it figured out and all should follow. It’s silly. I had to repent and try my best to actually BE humble instead of just look it.
2. There’s a reason he’s the pastor and I am not. If God wanted me to be the one laying out the vision and training others to accomplish it, He’s certainly powerful enough to put me in that situation, but He hasn’t. Will I form a mutiny against the man God has called to lead me or will I trust the Lord and follow him?
3. I have to ask a lot of questions and process semantic and philosophical differences. If you’re ever going to understand your pastor, ask a lot of questions. Also, your pastor is more willing to answer your questions if they know you are trying to be on board with their vision. They won’t know this by you saying it, they will know this by you serving in their church. There’s usually a plethora of service opportunities at a church (i.e. welcome team, usher, communion/tithe person, volunteer in the childcare).
Sometimes your differences are merely semantic or word-choice differences that we have each tied extended meaning to and we have to spend time processing so that our semantic differences don’t cause unnecessary strife.
4. My pastor is more open to my suggestions if I seek to understand him first. I’m no stranger to offering advice, I mean, hello I write on a blog…but I learned that until I had a pretty good understanding of my pastor’s vision and strategy, I wasn’t really able to offer any decent advice and he wasn’t really interested in hearing it. It was because the advice was uninformed and as it became more informed, my voice carried more weight.
5. There is freedom in submitting to your pastor’s vision and seeking to accomplish it. When you stop trying to create your own way that may or may not be against the pastor’s tide of thinking, there grows a freedom inside of you to just pursue accomplishing the mission. You are no longer bogged down by bitterness & frustration, you’re free to live out a godly vision. It’s refreshing.
How does this bless your pastor?
It affirms God’s call on their lives. Expressing your trust by seeking to understand them and accomplish it verifies the vision God has given them and encourages them to pursue it with more passion.
Increase their joy in fulfilling their vision. I’ve never met a pastor unwilling to discuss, expound, or repeat his vision for the church. It’s their calling and it brings them joy. That joy is increased when people back that vision.
The vision and mission actually start getting accomplished. A house divided against itself cannot stand, nor can it make it headway in accomplishing anything. When people unite around mission, great things can be accomplished and worship of Jesus tends to increase with it. It’s more exciting than in-house debating and gives greater joy to all involved.
One Final Thought
If you can’t get behind the vision your pastor has laid out for you and your church, go somewhere else. It’s not worth the bitterness, frustration, debates, and time wasted in your life and your pastor’s life. If you’ve tried to get a good understanding and still can’t get behind it, it’s obviously time to move on.
Any additional thoughts from my pastor friends or fellow volunteers at churches? Any comments or questions?