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!