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.
One of your most important roles as a pastor is as vision-caster. Sharing the vision of your church can’t be a one-time event.
The Bible says, “If people can’t see what God is doing, they stumble all over themselves” (Prov. 29:18, MSG).
As the leader, God has called you to help your congregation see what God is doing in your midst. That’s why you must continually put the vision of your church before your congregation—at least every 26 days. That’s the Nehemiah Principle.
A couple of months ago, I posted a blog on my website titled “3 Essential Skills for Leaders.”
While flipping through an old Moleskine this morning, I found some of my scribbled notes that described not three, but four skills all pastors must discover and constantly develop for the rest of their lives.
Here’s a remix of the original three, plus a fourth.
Here in America, we emphasize equal rights and fairness. Nobody gets special privileges because of where or to whom they were born. Nobody gets to cut to the front of the line.
If you get to pick first today, it’s only fair that I get to pick first tomorrow. It’s a level playing field for everybody because nobody is better or more privileged than anyone else. It’s a great system.
The problem comes when we transfer this way of seeing to the Creator of the universe. We sing, “Jesus is my friend.” And He is. We celebrate that “Jesus is the servant of all.” And He is.
There are few vocations that can engender burnout like the pastorate. The demands on a pastor’s time, emotions and energy can be overwhelming. When I was a pastor, I often felt at least the symptoms of burnout.
I recently spoke with 17 pastors who had experienced burnout or who felt they came precariously close to burnout. The good news about these pastors is that they moved out of burnout, and now they are re-engaging in exciting and visionary ministries.
So I asked them the obvious question: What did you do to reverse the dark spiral of burnout? The question was open-ended, so they could respond with as many answers as they desired. When it was all said and done, I tabulated 12 different responses from the 17 pastors. Obviously, many of them gave similar answers.