The tension is present for all church ministry leaders. I need to equip my leaders and raise up new leaders to serve in ways that helps accomplish both their individual WHY and the WHY of the church…BUT. We all know what that is…Sunday is coming. Whether we commit a significant portion of time to raising up new leaders or not, Sunday comes around every 7 days and our perceived success is based on whether we pull off a good Sunday or not.
If that is how success is measured, then how can I risk dropping the ball in order to dedicate time to raising up new leaders and equipping them? Although we all live in this tension, as pastors & leaders we have to measure ourselves by whether we are accomplishing our WHY or not.
Ephesians 4:12 states that one of the big WHY’s of pastors is to “equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” (NLT) Notice it doesn’t say to go and do the work for the body of Christ; it says to EQUIP God’s people to do his work. That means it’s often not your job to do the work of ministry, but to equip people that God has called.
The first question you have to ask yourself is, “Do I want to do this?” If you would rather do the work than equip people to do that work, that’s great! One problem though, you’re probably not fulfilling your call as one who equips. I know this is counter intuitive in an age when “pastors” are hired to do the stuff most people don’t like to do, but, if that is the job description of your pastoral staff, then my guess is that you have a really unhealthy church where the body is not being properly empowered and equipped to serve in ways they have been called. I’m not saying pastors and leaders can’t get their hands dirty and do some of the work themselves, but if a pastor is doing most (or all) the work and most of their time is spent alone doing it, then there’s a problem.
I want to suggest a solution that will sound scary. Honestly evaluate whether you and other pastors are focusing on equipping or doing. If, upon reflection, you’re doing and not equipping, then the best thing your church can do is be honest about that and strategically plan a transition to the Eph. 4 model. It’s scary because it, most likely, means the quality of Sundays will suffer for a season. Folks may leave your church because they think the product isn’t as good.
Your leaders may bail because they thought “that’s what we pay the pastors to do,” but trust that, before long, you are positioning your ministry to be stronger than ever. People have been called by God to serve; it’s part of their WHY, they just haven’t been equipped and given permission to do so. Commit to boldly lead as Scripture has instructed us to lead and see how God rewards you in return.