A serious church management issue presented itself when I became a pastor in Costa Mesa, Calif. All the financial records were stored in a shoebox in a closet at the treasurer’s house. The record-keeping was not even close to being up-to-date, and the board received no reliable financial reports.
Although it took a while, we got the finances out of the shoebox and into the church office, and we began putting together regular accounting reports.
With bookkeeping in such a mess, the church had never had a budget either. I was no accountant, but I knew any church needs a budget.
We had to have a way to report financials, so I created a simple system using Roman numerals I and II. These represented the church’s two basic areas of expenditure: ministry to our community and ministry to our world.
Pastors get to see the best and worst of life it seems, but there are many positives.
Obviously, seeing someone become a follower of Christ or baptism of a believer, has to rank as a highlight of the pastor’s experience. That’s what we are called to do. But, that experience isn’t unique to pastors. Every believer, hopefully, gets excited about seeing people’s entry into faith. That’s the call of the church; not only pastors.
So, my list is beyond those experiences to things that may be somewhat unique to pastors. I’m not saying only pastors get excited about these experiences, but to pastors, these are especially exciting. Also, different pastors will have different answers. That’s where the comments section makes this post even better.
Here are seven exciting things pastors experience:
Sitting at the airport in Singapore en route to home. After Sydney, we flew to Melbourne and had a lovely time with Pastor Kevin Conner and his wife, Rene. Now 86 years old, Pastor Kevin is a good friend of our ministry and has been a mentor of sorts to many of us through his teaching and writing.
Over dinner I was reminded of the many times this humble man of God has impacted my life and the lives of many others. Once, we asked him for his greatest tip for successful living. His reply was one word: Discipline. I couldn’t forget that learning moment with him.
When you think about it, discipline sounds very similar to disciple. I don’t know where we get the idea that in order to be a follower of Christ, we won’t need this important word that affects every facet of life.
“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35, NLT)
The Bible says a Christian without a church home is like an organ without a body, a sheep without a flock, or a child without a family. It is an unnatural state. The Bible says, “You belong in God’s household with every other Christian” (Ephesians 2:19b, LB).
Today’s culture of independent individualism has created many spiritual orphans—“bunny believers” who hop around from one church to another without any identity, accountability or commitment. Many believe it is possible to be a “good Christian” without joining (or even attending) a local church, but God would strongly disagree.
The church is so significant that Jesus died on the cross for it: “...Christ loved the church and gave his life for it” (Eph. 5:25 GW).
A pleasant personality can look like the fruit of the Spirit. There are people who are just simply nice. They are sweet, friendly and cheerful. They are the type of people you want to be around all the time. At times their pleasant personalities can put Christians who have been saved for years to shame.
However, sometimes in their case an aspect of God's common grace is substituting for the Spirit's manifestation. Their pleasantness may have nothing whatever to do with the fruit of the Spirit. Actually, they acted the same way before they were converted.
It can be difficult to convince people like this of their own need to exhibit the fruit of the Spirit. But sooner or later their self-righteousness will surface if they haven't been convicted of sin. If you recognize this problem in yourself, I urge you to do two things: