I’ve always been amazed at how some pastors can seem to manage massive growth in their churches. We are in New England where mega-churches are more myth than reality. Often I’ve thought if that has more to do with the post-Christian landscape of the northeast, but lately I’m wondering if it’s more to do with a higher emphasis on community and being real than some of our big city and Bible belt neighbors.
I can’t imagine being a pastor that is unfamiliar with a vast number of the folks who I am called to lead. I know that some would say that I really have to change and get over the fact that if we want our church to grow into the thousands then I have to look at my role as more of a pastor of leaders or CEO type than a shepherd/teacher. I just can’t do it. Yet for some strange reason we have seen our church continue to grow and now are moving into a multi-site model of ministry that keeps our pastors knowing the people who we serve.
Have you ever felt like you have to compromise who you are as a pastor to grow the church? I like knowing people’s names, although I am not really great at it, especially as we have seen growth. So should I just face the fact that I can’t know everyone and stop trying? Instead I encourage the church as a whole to be relationally driven. True, I can’t take everyone out for coffee, but I can some. Andy Stanley recently said in a message I heard, “do for one what you wish you could do for many.” To me, that’s the heart of a pastor.
I want to be normal, not supernatural or separated from the people I am called to pastor. I don’t want to run backstage after the service or be whisked away by bodyguards because I’m so in demand. Yet, I desperately want to see our church grow with new believers who are becoming followers of Jesus. Growth is good when it’s not about me. So maybe I do have to get over my tendency to want to know everyone and just get on with breeding a culture of community that includes my limitations. Growth will never take the pastor out of who I am.