Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Blessings and Challenges of Ministering in the Small Church (Part 9) – The Conclusion.

Serving as a pastor of any congregations demands gifts, passion and calling.

Not all persons serving as pastors are “gifted” to be pastors. We have all met people who have a heart for God but do not have the gifts necessary to be a pastor. Unfortunately, some (maybe many) of these folks are serving as pastors of churches. One particular pastor I know loves the Lord dearly and has effectively killed two churches. The person is as inspiring as a potato. The person is unable to be an effective leader. Yet, that pastor loves the Lord dearly. I believe that to pastor a smaller congregation a person needs to have a gift set that matches the needs of smaller churches.

Not all persons serving as pastor have a “passion” for what they are doing. People know when a pastor does not have passion for serving their church. Two pastors come to mind when I think of pastors without passion for serving a particular church. One of those pastors watched as church attendance plummeted. People stopped coming because they sensed that the pastor didn’t care about them or their church. The second pastor watched as the congregation shrunk due to the astronomic “aging” of the church’s membership and all of the associated issues. Both of these pastors had lost the passion for their current church. I believe that the pastor of a smaller congregation must have a passion for their current church. It can be difficult to maintain that passion, after all, there may not be “fabulous” programs that keep one excited and jazzed. Yet, it is imperative that a small church pastor keep the passion at a high level.

Not all persons serving as pastors have a “calling” from God to be a pastor. It is too easy for a caring pastor-want-to-be to mistake the desire to live for God as a calling to be a pastor. It is up to the larger church to assist a person in determining their calling. Let’s pause and think for a moment… When was the last time you were at a Presbytery meeting and voted to not move a person from being an Inquirer to being a Candidate? (for those who aren’t Presbyterian, those are required steps in the process of becoming a pastor) When the last time a Candidate at a Presbytery meeting was was not allowed to receive a call to a church as a pastor? To be sure, there is a “committee” that is suppose to be working with these folks to help determine a person’s calling. People still make it through the process and receive calls to churches who do not have a calling by God to be a pastor! I believe that it is imperative that a small church pastor have a calling by God to be the pastor of that particular church.

Being the pastor of a smaller congregation can be a blessing. Being the pastor of a smaller congregation is filled with challenges that are specific to smaller congregations. Blessed are the congregations who have a pastor that has the gifts, passion and calling for their particular ministry situation—large church or small church!


At 11:23 PM , Blogger Presbyterian Gal said...

I believe it's harder to be a pastor of a smaller church. With a larger church I've seen too much of "Don't minister to anybody or you won't be able to collect from everybody".

Plus what you said about giftedness and calling to be a pastor is truly insightful.

At 7:01 AM , Blogger Woody said...

I have enjoyed reading this series of posts. Our rural Missouri church has gone through a hard division of late. We have temporarily filled our pulpit with a wonderful man who is the best preacher I have ever wanted to hear. Unfortunately he will not be able to accept a full time call (which we would like) because of family issues. His son is in a school for the deaf out of the area and a 80 mile drive one way isn't something I would feel comfortable asking of him.


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