Ministry Today – Serving and empowering church leaders

Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing his reflections and practical insights as a ministry leader on Greenelines, a new podcast. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.


Fence-Ed-StetzerIn the first post of this series, I began a discussion on the importance of pastors establishing healthy boundaries in ministry.

As it’s an area in which I have personally struggled—and one in which I continue to grow—I’m passionate about sharing what I have learned in order to help others not make the same mistakes I did.

In the next four posts, I will share keys to establishing these boundaries. Think of them as four fence posts surrounding a healthy ministry.

The first “post” supporting a healthy ministry is to recognize your role in the church.

You, as the pastor, are not ultimately responsible for the church. While you do have some responsibility, only King Jesus bears the final responsibility.

When this boundary is ignored, the church ends up being built around the pastor, who then actually becomes part of the problem rather than the solution.

At my second church plant, we had grown to a congregation of about 125 after 18 months. While this might seem like a positive development, it became a bit of an Achilles heel for me. The attendance numbers became my driving force from week to week.

I would actually take time every Saturday to personally call all of our regular and occasional attendees and encourage them to be at church the next day. I was convinced that if I didn’t call everyone, the church would fall apart the next day. Because my identity was so wrapped up in our weekly attendance, if the church numbers collapsed the next day, my life, in effect, would collapse with it.

When pastors misunderstand their role like I did, they tend to put all their focus on some predetermined view of success rather than those things they are biblically called to, such as shepherding and equipping.

Thankfully, a combination of my wife and a pastor friend in another town lovingly pointed out to me I needed to make some changes. It resulted in my resignation. Well, sort of.

I actually got up one Sunday and “resigned.” (Yep, I used air quotes.) I told my congregation I was going to resign as the sole shepherd and caregiver of the church.

I apologized for not creating proper boundaries and explained I was restructuring. Using some very 1990s language (which wasn’t too terrible because it was the 1990s), I explained that I was going to move into a “rancher” role while appointing “shepherds” who worked there. It was a big step of growth, both for the church and myself.

Although moving to a decentralized ministry model was a good step, it was a hard step. In the next boundary “post,” we will examine the difficulty of creating healthy boundaries: The pastor has to be healthy enough to create the boundary.

Ed Stetzer is the president of LifeWay Research. This is the second of a four-part series called “Mystery Fenceposts.”

Leaders are readers! Subscribe now and get 3 magazines for the price of 1. Get Ministry Today, Charisma and SpiritLed Woman all for $24. YES - I'm a leader!

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Discouragement can be a serious struggle.

    Guard Your Spirit Against These 4 Crippling Attacks

    Are you struggling this Valentine's Day with one of these discouraging issues?

  • Worship leaders, keep your team's attitude in check.

    This Can Quickly Erode a Worship Team's Culture

    God has given us talent and He calls for excellence, but excellence with this is not honoring ...

  • A 'What's in it for me?' mentality could bring your church down.

    The Mentality That May Be Killing Your Church

    And we wonder why so many congregations are stagnated, plateaued or declining.

  • Why Many Christians Misunderstand This Crucial Leadership Trait

    Great leadership doesn't start with a great education, although that is incredibly valuable. ...

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • What reasons can you think of that leaders might not choose to delegate authority?

    7 Reasons Some Leaders Dump Delegation

    These could have a lot to do with stalled growth and low team morale.

  • Your Source of Unlimited Kingdom Energy and Power

    Jesus said that we can do greater works than He did and that He will do whatever we ask in His Name.

  • Don't bring your sermons in for a crash landing.

    4 Terrible Ways to Close a Sermon

    People need an opportunity to respond to the Word of God.

  • Pastors and ministry leaders should be bold in preaching against the murder of unborn babies.

    Kingdom Influence: A Challenge to Young Pastors and Leaders

    Jentezen Franklin urges ministry leaders to be strong and courageous in dealing with these issues ...

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders