As pastoral leaders, we’ve all struggled at one time or another—and it’s my hope you can use the church planter advice I am about to share.
We are all passionate about the God’s call in our lives. The responsibility of that call is heavy. Not necessarily in a burdensome way, but in a very real, undeniable way. The activity surrounding that call is exciting and energizing, although perhaps a bit overwhelming. And in some ways, even though we might not ever verbalize it, we feel that everything rests on us as the leader.
If we are not careful, we can take that spiritual responsibility and make it something God never intended.
We feel it falls on us because of the responsibility we sense to our calling.
That sense of responsibility is a good thing. After all, God has entrusted us with a community of people. Some are believers, but many are walking the streets of our neighborhoods and have yet to be reached with the life-transforming truth of Jesus. So that responsibility is important. But if we are not careful, we can take that spiritual responsibility and make it something God never intended. God does not desire for everything, or even most everything, to fall upon our shoulders. This is precisely why he has blessed his Church with the gift of community.
“Community. Of course. I don’t do it all myself,” says every church planter, everywhere. But when you step back and take a realistic look, you might see otherwise. Are you are struggling with letting go of some of the tasks and decisions? When that happens, you can unintentionally inhibit the growth of your people and the effectiveness of your ministry.
Church Planter Advice Every Pastoral Leader Can Use
Take some time to consider these three powerful pieces of church planter advice. They will help you let go and live fully into your calling as the leader of your church.
- Focus your time and energy. Stop doing things others can do just as well. Sounds simple, but this can be one of the most challenging pieces of church planter advice to take. Many church planters are blessed with an entrepreneurial spirit. This can make letting go more difficult. I remember when I made the decision to stop preparing graphics for all of our church communications. I really enjoy graphic design and I had convinced myself that I needed to create the graphics to be sure everything aligned with our culture and vision. The reality was, I struggled with delegating tasks to others because I felt I had to be involved in all the details. Fortunately, I realized the time I spent on graphic design was taking away from time I could spend building relationships, connecting with our community, preparing for messages and a variety of other items which needed my focus and energy. I could still review all of the graphics created by others. Guess what? The creativity of those I delegated to was inspiring and they felt even more engaged as they contribute in more meaningful ways. That’s a win all the way around. Moses figured this one out with some help from his father-in-law, Jethro. Jesus modeled this as well. So learn what you can delegate, and delegate.
Be willing to let others fail. This directly connects to improving your willingness to hand-off tasks. After you have spread the ministry load to others, you must resist the temptation to swoop in and save the day. We have a responsibility to help those people God has entrusted to us as they grow into their God-given potential. Oftentimes this means they are stretched by the way God is at work in their lives. Keep in mind that they won’t always get it right. They may not follow through. And, they may move in a direction you didn’t anticipate. Don’t panic and try to make everything “right” because these moments are opportunities for growth. Consider the many times the disciples fell short. Jesus didn’t always rush in and take everything over. Instead, he allowed them to stumble and then he lovingly redirected them, allowing those experiences to be times of learning. You’ll be presented with the same opportunities. If you extend grace to those who are serving in your church, they will learn how to extend grace to others. This includes you when you don’t get it quite right! And that is a blessing for everyone involved.
- Celebrate the time and energy you now have to pour into your family. Leading a church is a rewarding endeavor, but also one of the most draining. As you learn the art of letting go, you will experience many powerful blessings. You’ll see more people engaged in the church and you’ll watch your people grow as they are challenged and stretched. You’ll also have more time to focus on your priorities, and more. Perhaps the greatest blessing is the opportunity you will have to pour more time into your marriage and family. This is a critical piece of church planter advice when it comes to ministry longevity and your effectiveness as a pastor. The strains ministry places on our spouses and children are undeniable. When we are caught up in the flurry of ministry activity, we can miss them. When you learn how to let go in responsible and God-honoring ways, you have more time and energy for your family. Be intentional with how you use this time. Invest in your marriage and your children. Make memories. Relax together. Thank God for your family and your church, and for his guidance in helping you find meaningful balance.
With 20 years of pastoral leadership experience, Jason Daye is passionate about helping ministry leaders discover how God is already working in their unique ministry contexts. Daye also strives to help them uncover opportunities to build bridges into their neighborhoods to extend the hope of Christ. He dedicates his time to encouraging and equipping churches, denominations and ministry organizations to develop their Kingdom effectiveness by creating a culture that is both incarnational and invitational. Jason is the Director of Ministry Development at Outreach, Inc. and lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with his beautiful wife and six children. He enjoys hiking with his family, fighting rainbow trout, summiting 14ers and swapping stories with good friends. Connect with him on Twitter @jasondaye.