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.