Thursday, July 31, 2008

PASTORAL TRANSITIONS

During my first couple of years as pastor of Chapin Baptist, I set a goal of visiting in the home of every church member. As the church grew, it didn't take long to realize that there would be no way I could manage that goal and invest the time needed for study and leading other aspects of church life.

That observation represents one of the many things I've learned about ministry. To lead a church with 200 attending requires a different skill set than it takes to lead a church with 600 attending. Overseeing a budget of $300,000 is much different than overseeing a budget of $1.5 million.

Needless to say, as the church has grown through the years, so has my need to keep learning. As the church has journeyed through various stages of growth, I have had to acquire new skills. The most obvious is the need to expand my leadership capabililties. This really hit home back in the early 90's when I attended my first John Maxwell conference. That was a pivotal time for me. For the first time I recognized that I must not just be a pastor of people but also a leader of people.

As a church grows, it becomes imperative that the pastor be an equipper of people. Actually, from a purely biblical perspective, equipping believers is the primary job description of any pastor regardless of the size of the church (Eph. 4:11-12). Helping people discover their gifts and then helping them find meaningful ways to use those gifts for the kingdom is one of the most fulfilling parts of ministry. But to equip others requires skills that most seminaries don't teach.

As the church continues to grow, so must my ability to lead grow. The skills and gifts that got us to where we are today will not be the same skills and gifts that will lead us to new horizons. I must always be willing for God to stretch me and equip me with what it takes to move to new levels of growth. I'm ready and I'm eager for whatever God has in store.

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