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Pastoral worries

Posted by on Dec 2, 2010 in discipleship, elders, office | 14 comments

Pastoral worries

So, I’m an elder in our church – one of five elders, actually. I pastor, meaning that I care for people. Of course, many, many people who are part of our church pastor people. It’s hard to disciple without pastoring…. and we should all be discipling, right?

I’m not a professional pastor. I do not draw a salary because I am an elder or because I pastor. I do not “preach a sermon” every week. In fact, once again, many, many people who are part of our church take part in teaching. It’s hard to disciple without teaching… and we should all be discipling, right?

Lately, I’ve been paying attention to some of the comments (on Facebook or blogs or twitter) from other pastors. I’ve noticed a few things that cause pastors to worry… things that I don’t worry about because of our context.

For example, I don’t worry about getting fired because I say the wrong thing or because I take a stand on the wrong topic. (Even if I’m wrong.) I can’t be fired, because I was never hired. People follow me because they’ve decided that I’m a good example of one who is following Jesus Christ. We have many good examples who are part of our church.

I also don’t worry about what I’m going to “preach” each week. Even when it is my turn to teach or lead the discussion, “sermon preparation” is not even in view. Instead, we teach or discuss based on what we are all studying together. Imagine sitting around and talking about a certain topic or Scripture passage with a group of your friends, and then you have a good idea of what our times of teaching are like.

I don’t worry about getting someone to “fill in” for me when I’m sick or when I’m out of town. Why? Because I’m not the only one studying and “preparing” for our church meeting. I know that if I’m not present (as if my presence is necessary) there will be many others who can teach and lead the discussion.

I don’t worry about money and budget issues. Besides paying no salaries, we also fund no “ministries.” Oh, we use our money to minister to people, but not in the sense of needing to have a certain amount of money in order for some program to continue. If, for some reason, we do not have to money to rent the place where we’re currently meeting, we’ll simply find another place. We don’t let money rule what we do or don’t do.

Because of many of the above, I don’t worry about how many people meet with us each Sunday. I don’t have to worry about filling the pews (or chairs). I don’t have to worry about recruiting people to fill ministry program slots. I don’t have to worry about how much money people give.

Instead, I can focus all of my time and energy on people… caring for people… serving people… discipling people… teaching people… sharing my life with people.


14 Comments

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  1. 12-2-2010

    Alan,

    I don;t worry about those things (anymore) either! Thanks be to God.

    Eric

  2. 12-2-2010

    I pray more and more “pastors” will choose to follow your example, the example of Paul.

  3. 12-2-2010

    Just goes to show that if you create a monster, you will need to feed it; or watch out, it may eat you.

    This post was a breath of fresh air. Thanks.

  4. 12-2-2010

    Eric,

    Yes, thanks be to God.

    Michele,

    I pray that also.

    Bettie,

    Thank you for the encouragement!

    -Alan

  5. 12-2-2010

    So who pays your salary? Do you have a (secular) full time job? Retired? Wife working? Just curious.

  6. 12-2-2010

    Alan,

    I well remember the joy of not being “employed” by people who, as a result “owned” me, and my time, and understood ministry only in terms of “results”, which were proven by backsides on seats and full offering bags.

    May your tribe increase!

  7. 12-2-2010

    abu daoud,

    Good to see you around here again. I work as a web developer.

    Aussie John,

    Thanks for the encouragement!

    -Alan

  8. 12-2-2010

    Alan, I would think there are many pastors who would love to be free to serve as God has called us to do in Christ. The traditional structures we have seem to be an inescapable trap sometimes. Lord have mercy.

  9. 12-3-2010

    Bobby,

    I think there are many who would like to spend more time with people. I know there are many who see their administrative and sermon prep “duties” as being pastoral. I’m not so sure…

    -Alan

  10. 5-27-2011

    Pastoring by committee–an idea whose time has come perhaps. I’ve always thought that the day my ministry started going downhill was the day I started to collect a pay check for what I had done out of passion previously.

  11. 5-27-2011

    Yep. Our group is exactly the same. I’ve actually stopped calling myself a pastor at all because it causes so much confusion with people who assume that I have my own church and that I preach every week and that I’m the CEO of the organization. (None of which is even remotely true).

    I functionally care for people in our church family (therefore I am a pastor) but I’m not the CEO, I don’t control things, I don’t preach at all, and we all share teaching/discipleship responsibilities for one another.

    Thanks for taking the time to share this, Alan. I appreciate you and your insights.

    Peace,
    kg

  12. 10-19-2011

    Good thoughts Alan.

    I am a pastor who is paid, and I do not worry about any of those things either.

  13. 10-12-2012

    Sounds very freeing to me. Isn’t it refreshing to know that you don’t have to worry about all that stuff and just focus on the gospel and people? Nothing like gathering together and leading with your heart, convictions and scripture.

    Truth be told, it sounds beautiful and something that is rarely seen today.

  14. 10-12-2012

    Luv it!! :)

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