Pastoring a local church can be very rewarding, and certainly fulfilling. Pastoring can also be all-consuming and draining when life and ministry are out of balance. There are so many ministries to care for, meetings to prepare for, people to pray for, messages to study for; oh, and yes, your family to be there for. These are just a few of the responsibilities and challenges of pastoring a local church. We know you wear many hats. On any given day you could go from a church member’s funeral, to counseling a young couple, to prepping this week’s sermon, to cleaning the nursery. At times it can all be overwhelming. While you used to serve out of the overflow of your heart, you might find yourself struggling to serve from the depths of a bone-dry well.
The good news, dear pastor, is that we want to help you get back a life defined by the overflow. Our heart at R3 Ministry Network is to help you find ways to stay refreshed while caring for the ministries entrusted to you by God. One way to maintain a healthy balance in each season of life and ministry is to assess your responsibilities and to delegate as many duties as possible. The Psalmist in 127 reminds us that God ultimately gives us rest and refreshment, and He enjoys doing so. At the same time, Nehemiah 6:1-4 forewarns us that distractions will come again and again in an attempt to take you away from the good work to which God has called you.
Here is an exercise we think will help: answer the question, Who can help you do that?
Step 1: Make a list of all the ministries your church offers, or would like to offer. Include everything: preaching, teaching, administration, nursery, worship, outreach, children and youth ministries, women’s ministry, men’s ministry, maintenance, and cleaning. List everything you can think of.
Step 2: Under each ministry write the name of the person who currently leads that ministry. It may very well be you for all or most of the ministries. As the Senior Pastor you may ultimately oversee all aspects of your church operations and ministries, but for this exercise think in terms of daily care and overall implementation.
Step 3: Write a brief expectation for each ministry. This would be similar to a job description, but with more of a ministry outcome perspective. Just as in any assignment or job responsibility, certain qualifications, requirements, and guidelines would be helpful. Make them as concise and clearly understood as possible.
Step 4: Review the list and note which responsibilities you can delegate. Then pray about who to delegate them to. This will take a little time as some ministries require more attention, more skilled leadership, and more people-skills than others. It can be hard to let go of perfection in certain areas. If you continue to be the lead on most of the list, it will give you a prayer list to target. You may, and will likely, be surprised at how well someone else will do as they serve in their area of giftedness. It will also give you ministries to bring before the church family so they too can pray. Perhaps they will discover that they are the ones with the gifts for that specific ministry. Of course, not every ministry need should be presented to the entire congregation. Certain paid and
volunteer positions, especially those that involve working with children, will require specific skills, proper screening, and extreme caution.
Going through this four-step process will not only serve to identify where you need help, but can also be a launchpad for truly equipping the saints and cultivating leadership within your church. Remember, when you try to do it all, you rob others of the blessing they receive in ministering as well as the opportunity to grow in their areas of giftedness. When you let go of some responsibilities, your time is freed up to invest in the ministry areas that really need you and that you are passionate about.
The goal is to find and maintain a healthy balance in life and ministry for each season. Whether you have young children, a houseful of teenagers, or are an empty nester, each stage of life requires a different allocation of your time and resources. Each season of life and ministry is special and important. With clarity, intention, and focus you, your family, and your church can enjoy each season to its fullest.
God has called you to do good work, but distractions will come and life will happen. Perhaps the most important thing you can do today is to ask, Who can help you do that? Then give them the opportunity to serve.
Delegate and be Refreshed!