Pastors have forgotten that our primary ministry is not to visit the hospitals or the shut-ins or chair committee meetings. According to Ephesians 4:11-16, the pastor’s primary ministry is to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry. Until that happens, the saints are not yet mature and they will continue to be tossed about by whatever the latest religious fad is blowing in the wind. Pastors have somehow gotten confused in their thinking and instead of quipping the saints to DO the ministry; many pastors are doing the ministry themselves. Because of that, pastors are exhausted and near burn out. They think that hiring another staff member or giving up their part time job will fix it. But that is only a symptom of the problem. The problem is that we have not equipped the saints.
When I share this idea with pastors, they often tell me that I do not understand their situation. Their church EXPECTS them to do the entire ministry and if they do not, they will get fired. My response to that is that the pastor should be teaching the whole counsel of God to the congregation, not just the parts that itching ears want to hear. We must teach the congregation to expect the deacons and Sunday School teachers and small group leaders to handle much of the day to day ministry of the church while the pastor focuses on equipping leaders and the study of the Word. Some will not like that being the pastor's main duties. But when did we decide to only do ministry that everyone likes? Some do not like the pastor being paid a full time salary, but most of us are willing to fight to get it. Some do not like paying for extra staff members, but pastors ask for it anyway. Some do not like the color of the carpet or the style of the music, but the pastor pushes for these things if it is needed. Why not also push to release the lay people to DO the work of the ministry instead of just having professional clergy do it all? Anything we do will have someone who does not like it, but if it is the right thing to do, then we must be the leaders God has called us to be and lead.
I am not saying that it will be easy. But if this is what God has called us to do, we must do it. We are not the hirelings that have been brought in to make the sheep fat and happy inside the pen. We are shepherds who lead the sheep to good grass out in the pasture (and they have to walk out there themselves if they want to eat that grass). It will take effort but it can be done. It is time to stop doing everything on our own and start doing the main thing God called us to do, equip the saints to do the work of the ministry.
In response to the great need for pastors to train lay people to assist them in high level ministry, Dr. Terry Dorsett wrote the book, Developing Leadership Teams in the Bivocational Church. It is being used by over 4,000 churches across North America and is helping both bivocational and single staff churches gain a whole new perspective on what the pastor's job really is.
Click here for more details: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004G08SIG