Pastors, You’re Missing It

I had a surprise divine appointment Monday. I sensed the Spirit of God leading me to eat at a particular eating establishment. When I parked, I noticed what I thought to be the vehicle of a long-time pastor friend. I was not certain. My plan was to make a pit stop, order my food, and sit down during my lunch break. Well, God’s plan was better than mine.

We sat at the table for nearly 45 minutes before I ever followed through with eating. He was studying and sharing what God was teaching him. This is a man who has pastored for over 30 years and is reaching the age when he could draw social security, but his energy level and thinking is young. He is still a student.

The big takeaway from the conversation is not from what he is reading although it’s great stuff. He made a statement about how pastors could make a greater impact in their community if they would serve with the community such as with the volunteer fire department or a local organization. He spoke of how he is the chaplain for the local volunteer fire department and goes out on calls. He is able to minister to people when they need it most. So, allow me to sum this up in a few sentences:

  • You are not likely to be remembered most for a great stage performance. Yes, you might be an awesome singer or preacher and possess the ability to woo a crowd. When the lights are off, most people will probably never remember a song you a sang or a message you preached. They WILL remember when you were there for them when they lost a child, a home, or got news that their sickness was a death sentence.
  • Personally investing in people is not just something small church pastors do. J. D. Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Durham, NC is now the President of the Southern Baptist Convention. I heard him in a seminar in 2012 speak of how he personally invests in people at The Summit and equips them to minister. This is the pastor of a multi-site megachurch. When I was facing divorce, this same pastor wasn’t hiding backstage after he “brought the heat”. He was in front of the stage and took time to pray with this guy who was hurting. That meant volumes to me.

So, you have several hundred people attending your church. You have a large staff. You’re building a resume and making a name for yourself. To what avail? If you aren’t loving people and investing in them, you’re missing it. Repent and start pouring your life into others. Remember, Jesus was not known for His great sermons so much as He was remembered for His personal ministry. Meditate on that!

32 thoughts on “Pastors, You’re Missing It

  1. This afternoon the Lord impressed upon me to follow His ministry and during this time He showed me that He made disciples “outside the church,” doing life with people! Thanks Bro!! You have no idea what this message has done!

  2. May I then suggest that you also (and if not you, Matthew, then others who might read this) consider becoming a chaplain with your local police department? The ministry of presence is powerful and needed. I am a chaplain with our local Sheriff’s Office and wish I could do more than I do.

    I would also like to add that this is what being bi-vocational is all about. As you may remember, I wrote a book about some of my experiences as a school bus driver. Believe it or not, I know of 7 teenagers who came to faith in Christ because of my faithful witness as their bus driver. No, I never actually shared the gospel with them, but during the years they rode my bus they came to respect me and trust me. When they were later invited to a youth activity, even though they had never gone to church, when the parents found out Mr. Baker was the pastor at the church, they let them attend.

    Recently, all because we wanted to find a way our little church could make inroads to our community, we started a bluegrass/gospel pick-n-grin on the 4th Saturday night of the month. So far it has started off slowly, but already two adults have started coming to our church. Why? Because of how they were treated when we just hung out playing music.

    I doubt I’ll ever pastor a church with a couple of hundred in attendance, but that’s in the Lord’s hands. All I know is that a real pastor is one who lives life with his flock: hurting with them, eating with them, listening to them, praying with them, sitting their in the waiting room with the family waiting for word from the doctor. Real pastoring is not earning a speaker spot at the next national convention; it’s being a real-life example of the commander whom the troops will say, “I’d follow him into battle any day.” It’s earning their respect and love because they see you doing what you ask them to do, and more. It’s a lot of stuff, but very little of it is on the stage, that’s for sure.

  3. Amen! Very true, we must minister to people where they are at. Too many churches make it their first goal to get people into the church when we should be going out and getting the “church” into them. Our pastor serves as a chaplain for police force in our town and is very good at connecting churches of different denominations. Ive seen the impact this makes on the community and the overall respect it has brought our church as well

      1. He sure is Jennifer! Thank you for commenting 😊👍 if you ever want to listen to our church live streams, we are on Facebook, just search Hope Family Church, Pastor is Dan Owings. Thank you and God bless!

  4. Thanks for your insight. The Apostle Paul says the purpose of the ministry gifts is to prepare the people of God to do the works He has for them to do. I’m sure God didn’t intend them to be just a position to fill and build a reputation from, although the Lord puts favor on people and lifts them up to put them into position to do the works God needs done and to inspire others to step up and step out.

  5. Very well said and we agree 100%. My husband and I are leading a group “Serve Your City” by Dino Rizzo and we serve with Feed My Sheep Outreach. The sole purpose is to provide for the economically disadvantaged, to serve those in need, love on and the hurting and create an opportunity to receive Jesus to the lost. Thank you for this post!!! Keep sharing!

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