As a pastor there is a verse that constantly sits at the forefront of my mind. Not a single day goes by that I do not wrestle with this verse and experience the full weight of its instruction for me. I believe it answers one of my greatest questions....What does a pastor do?
“Now it’s up to you. Be on your toes—both for yourselves and your congregation of sheep. The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people—God’s people they are—to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for." Acts 20:28 from The Message
God has called me to watch over my church, to protect my church and to love my church. The portion of this verse that adds weight and value is this, "God himself thought they were worth dying for." If God saw the value of the people to be so great, the value of you and me, that He would die for us.....As a pastor I can love no less. I can see no less value in people. I can handle the lives of the people in our church with no less care and honor!
The question I struggle most with is this: How do I do this well?
I think every single pastor struggles with the way he can best love his people. As pastors we fight through the culture of loving our people through great programming, great environments, great inspiration, great opportunities and so much more. In some ways I think we have relegated loving our people to our ability to grow a large, influential church! Many pastors have fallen into the trap of believing, "if I just have the latest trends in place, I will be better equipped to love and lead the people of my church." Nothing could be further from the truth.
Recently, God used a great pastor to speak the answer into my life. In true God-like style, the answer was a a lot more simple and a tin less complicated than I would have imagined.
Pastor Ed Dobson, one of the most successful and humble pastors of the past 10-20 years, gave me some time to learn from his wisdom. Pastor Ed lead a great church in Grand Rapids Michigan, planted many others and mentored some of today's most influential young leaders. I asked Pastor Ed the simple question, "What do you believe is the greatest things pastor can do?" His response......
"TEACH THE BIBLE, LOVE PEOPLE"
That response resonated in my heart....Simple, yet incredibly powerful! We have complicated things so much in today's world with systems, programs and so much more. I believe, as I have watched the life and ministry of so many great pastors/leaders, this could not be more true. Here's what I know.....
The pastors who's churches are growing, exploding and influencing have one thing in common: They have pastors who truly love their people and have a passion to teach God's Word.
My question to you as a leader or pastor: What has gotten you sidetracked from the thing God has called you to do for the church He has given to you?