I talk to Pastors who tell me that preaching is the hardest thing for them to do. Others tell me staffing selection is the hardest part of their job. Others say it’s living in a fishbowl where everything you say and do is judged (usually pretty harshly) is the toughest thing to deal with. But in my role as a Senior Pastor (Or Lead Pastor depending on your particular nomenclature), the hardest thing for me, is to say NO. When someone calls and wants to meet with me for counseling and I have to refer them to a staff member, it kills me. I think part of it is because I don’t want them to feel like I don’t care. The truth is, I’m referring them to the staff member or lay leader because I care. I always feel like there’s the opportunity to be misunderstood in these situations, but I know it’s the right thing to do. God has brought amazing people to support me in our church so I can do what I’m called to do and they can use their gifts to minister to those that really need help.
But it’s still tough for me, especially when someone says, “I only feel like I can relate to you.” That’s just because they listen to me talk for 40 minutes (OK, sometimes longer) every Sunday. So when I say I can’t meet with them and refer them to a staff member, there’s a little part of me that feels like I let them down. I know it’s not the case because the person I have referred them to is much better at meeting that need than me, but I still get that feeling.
I know God has called to do 2 things at CCML: lead and feed. I’m called to lead the church where Jesus is calling us and to feed God’s people His Word. If I deter from that focus, it’s over. The church stops moving and we never reach beyond the 4 walls of the church (Or theatre in our case) to those that don’t know Jesus. It’s a tough call. I know I get misunderstood when I say NO, but I know it pleases God when I say it. Let me say that again: It pleases God when I say NO! That’s a conclusion I came to a while ago, but only implemented this year. If someone is more gifted, it is them that should meet the need using their gift. That’s why God placed them in the body of Christ to begin with! When I was a staff member at a church, I watched my Pastor say NO to everything, except the things that only he could do. That’s the mark of a great leader and a great Pastor. Only a selfish Pastor “Hogs” all the ministry opportunities for himself! Only a Pastor with a serious ego problem believes that only he can meet the needs of the congregation. A great Pastor trains those around him and places them according their areas of gifting to be able to exercise those gifts for the benefit of the whole church. Being a great Pastor doesn’t mean you meet all of the needs, it means you have avenues where those needs get met.
So now I’m saying NO. And the result: More people are receiving ministry than ever; the church is moving where God wants us to go; I’m more prepared than ever on share God’s Word; we’re reaching more people than ever; and my staff is experiencing the joy of being an instrument in God’s hand.
Pastors, what’s the hardest part of your job?