When working on a generosity initiative, the biggest mistake I see senior pastors make is to downplay their impact on their congregation. Yes, there are pastor stories out there of inflated egos and bigger-than-life personalities, but I don’t work with those pastors. The pastors I work with (and I believe they represent the overwhelming majority of pastors) are very humble and sincere and are trying to answer their call into ministry each and every day.
Being a lead pastor is difficult. There is no other way to say it. The time demands and the emotional demands are immense. The day-to-day of ministry can take its toll and be so dramatic to where I see pastors really suffering from self-doubt. They are wondering, “Am I really making a difference? Is it really worth it anymore?”
As a lay person, I am here to tell all pastors, “yes, you do make a difference, and from my perspective, it is worth it for you to keep being a pastor!”
I hear it every day in my work. The lay people love their pastor(s). They want to know their pastor. They want to have a personal relationship with their pastor. They listen when their pastor speaks (some even take notes on Sundays and go back and read them during the week). They want to please their pastor. They want to help their pastor. They want to feel connected to something bigger than they are.
Here are three suggestions for pastors who might be struggling with the question, “Am I really making a difference?”
- Set up a coffee/lunch with at least three lay people/couples each week and ask them how they are doing. The rest of the conversation will take care of itself.
- Set up a coffee/lunch with at least one staff member per week and ask them how they are doing personally and professionally. The rest of the conversation will take care of itself.
- Fight the spiritual warfare. Pray against the enemy because the enemy is the one making you question if you are making a difference.
Try those three suggestions for a month and let me know how it goes.
I really believe it is that simple.