When I first stepped into the pastoral role of a aging, struggling congregation, I wasn’t sure what to believe would be most important. In the years since, that answer has become quite clear–building the right team.
I look back now and see how fortunate I was to have people who believed in me come alongside and help me as we pursued the change that could bring new life to the church. I am forever grateful to people who filled various valuable roles.
First there were those among the church’s elected leadership who decided that bringing my wife and I to their church and city meant they would stand with us in every setting. Now you might think that’s a “no-brainer” since these were the folks principally responsible for the church’s decision to choose us, but I’ve learned since that sometimes those key leaders can be the first to turn on a new pastor. A pastor needs those he works with most closely to support him both publicly and privately. If leaders can’t do that, stepping aside may well be the best option. No organization can grow if its leaders are pulling in different directions.
Of course, there were those who stood ready to help too. Dozens of these people offered to lend a hand with this need or that. Some had been with the church for years and others were among those we were newly meeting, but those with a helpful spirit made pastoring an absolute joy.
A few folks chose encouraging us as their principle focus. These dear friends couldn’t fully grasp all the elements of our assignment, but they got close enough to know our hearts and hurts and were the first to pray with us and offer encouraging words.
The list could go on for awhile.
Too many pastors feel as though they are reaching for a better day by themselves. They need a team. People who care…people who believe…people who dream…people who think…people who understand that the leader can be lonely and an easy target for enemies.
When a leader knows he has a team supporting him or her, that leader can move forward more quickly, climb higher than before, and of course, the church climbs as well.
If you’re a pastor, start building such a team. Share your heart with those who seem most committed to your church. Let them in on your dreams as well. And be sure to let them know you need their support and strength. You can’t go forward on your own–God doesn’t build His Church that way and you weren’t made to lead alone.