The church world is full of different types of people. The diversity in the Lord’s church is a testament of God’s love and power, that misses no one. Regardless of the state we’re in, God’s love and power is never out of our reach. Just like there is diversity among God’s people, there is also diversity among local churches. As a pastor, and particularly the pastor of a very small church, I have found myself on the discouraged end of the stick. Seeing larger churches across my city, the nation, and even the world, in person or on TV, I often find myself in the trap of comparison, wanting God to use me in a great way, like I see Him doing for others. But along the way, I have picked up a few encouraging things to remember when I find myself discouraged:
- You may be small, but you’re still valuable. For this to make sense, we have to believe that God establishes churches through people, and not that people establish churches for God. If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, He has a purpose for your church, and that fact alone makes you valuable. That small church, planted where ever it is, is a precious jewel to the Almighty. Remember, when it comes to diamonds, clarity is more valuable than size. So if your ministry is small, but pure (in spirit and motive), then He is pleased.
- Remain faithful to your call. Pastors are called to oversee and care for God’s people. If God has called you to this office, you must know that it is a job of repetition and maintenance. It is really nowhere near as glamorous as we in the western world have made it. It’s not just about your speaking gift as a preacher, but it’s also about your skill as a leader, and your humility as a servant. You must remain faithful to the assignment laid before you, even when it seems fruitless, and dare I say, boring.
- Stop trying to “keep up”. I’m not afraid to say it: preachers are notorious for bragging. We have even mastered the art of masking our bragging as a testimony. Whenever God uses us unusually, we can’t wait to spread THAT good news. So when we hear about what “God is doing over there,” many of us make the mistake of trying to duplicate it. I’ve been there, and done that too. But let me encourage you to seek God for what you should do in your ministry, or else you will tire yourself, and the people who God has placed in your care, out. Not to mention, what worked “over there”, usually won’t work for you; especially if God didn’t orchestrate it.
- Be honest. This is two-fold. First of all be honest with people. Don’t misrepresent your church, trying to be impressive to people (or perhaps I should say to other pastors). God is glorified in a variety of situations, not just what we deem glory worthy, and you rob God of His glory when you don’t tell it like it is. Secondly, and most importantly, be honest with yourself. If you are trying to be a celebrity, or make money from this job, and have lost sight of what God truly wants to do through you, be honest about it, so that you can realign yourself with God’s will for your life. How God uses you is secondary to you living for Him.
- Love people; don’t use them. Pastoring means loving people. As I said before, pastors are called to oversee and care for people individually, not just collectively. You have to make sure, in order to maximize your effectiveness as a pastor, you love people and not use them for your own purposes. People will respond to that love, and you all will grow the way God wants you to.
© 2016 Derek J. Murphy Enterprises, and I AM KINGDOM Publishing, All Rights Reserved
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