Many pastors consistently read magazines, research online and purchase books on "how-to" material to grow their church.
As a whole, pastors have a desire to reach more people, and to do it, they must find ways to get people to come to church. In 20 years of ministry, I have seen so many trends come and go, trends that a lot of churches try to emulate in hopes of attracting more people. But pastoring a church, reaching people and growing so you can do more is not an easy task.
According to pastoralcareinc.com, more than 1,700 pastors quit the ministry every month in 2014. It's demanding, and the pressures to accomplish all that you have to and help people every day, can take a toll on pastors.
We all want to find the one thing that will answer all and make life easier to pastor and grow our churches. I can't say that I have the one answer or that we've arrived in figuring it all out, but I can say that there are five things that will take the unnecessary burden off of pastors, which can help them can focus on what God has called them to do:
1. Stay focused on the vision God gave you. You can lose focus on the vision God gave you because of the different trends that come and go, or you try to pattern after another successful pastor. There is nothing wrong with learning from one another or getting ideas, but don't waiver from the vision God gave you and build around it. Even if it's challenging, God would not give you a vision and refuse to support it. Sometimes those challenging times are tests to see whether you will obey and remain faithful. Just like God tested Abraham's faith when He told him to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham had to obey and trust God.
2. Make the vision clear. You have to make the vision God gave you crystal clear to your congregation. Your congregation wants to be informed, they want to know your heart, and they want to know how they can be a part. If individuals in your congregation don't like your vision, then they don't need to be a part of your church. Your vision isn't dictated by people who don't agree with it in your church. That can be challenging, but if you remain faithful and trust God, He will guide and increase you over time.
3. Get your people involved in your vision. "The Power of All" is a must in churches to accomplish the vision God gives a pastor for the church. Teach your people all to get involved, all to fund the vision, and all to be a part. The churches that are the healthiest are those where the members are all involved in one way or another. A church is a body, and a body cannot function with just one side of operating. The church needs its body to all operate and function together!
4. Be content with the vision God gave you. So many times, we measure our success with other churches and feel the weight of comparison to be or grow like them. Not every church has to be filled with 1,000 members. There are a lot of factors such as demographics and what the vision is. For instance, our church puts a priority on the younger generation. At one point, we had more young people attending our ministry than adults and families. That was our vision. Now that a lot of young people are growing up and we've been in our community almost 20 years, we are adding a lot more adults and families. The vision has not changed because of that, and our culture is all about reaching the younger generation. When people visit our church, they know immediately what our vision is.
5. Don't quit. You will never see the vision come to pass if you quit. God is faithful, and He will equip you to carry out the vision, He will provide and He will help you (if you let Him) finish the race.
I think back to the times when we wanted quit. We could have because so many people told us that if God was in what we were doing for the younger generation, He would provide for it. I am certainly glad we did not quit. Because we stayed the course and trusted God, we are doing more and impacting more people than we ever thought we would. God is so amazing! I want to encourage you to stick with the vision God gave you; He is faithful to make sure it comes to pass. There are so many people on the other side of your obedience. Don't compare yourself or your church with anyone else. God called you for a specific purpose and mandate.
I want to leave you with a great resource that will encourage your faith. My husband, Pastor Luis Reyes, shares his story in his book The Spirit and Power of Elijah on how sticking with the vision to reach youth cost him a lot. But in the end, God had his back, and his ministry is making a huge impact because of his obedience. Go to luisreyesministries.com.
Along with her husband, Pastor Luis Reyes, Tricia Reyes is the co-founder of The New Church Of Joy in Waukegan, Illinois. She is a blogger, author and helps manage her daughter Madison's (Maddie Rey) Music Ministry. She is a devoted wife and mother to Madison and Matthew and loves the Lord with all her heart! To learn more about Tricia's ministry or to book her for a Women's Event/Conference visit her website at triciareyes.com or thenewchurchofjoy.com.
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