Pastors receive enough pressure from associations, periodicals and other pastors on growing their congregations. Look at the back of a baseball card. We Americans are obsessed with numbers. When it comes to church and determining how well a pastor is doing we look at “the numbers.” You know what I am talking about. Numbers published on how many baptisms your church had last year. How many new church members, attendance records, Sunday School enrollments, and let’s not forget the most important one, MONEY. Money received. Money given. Money spent on church operations, buildings, maintenance and so on. Just where in the Bible does it state that is how we measure the success of a pastor? Where?
I am guilty too. Thinking my pastor has some obligation to me to listen to my whining. We expect our pastor to be on call 24/7 without any thought to their families and personal life. Don’t get me wrong. I agree that the Christian life and being a servant is a life of servitude and poverty. Look at the recipe for failure we as followers of Christ have created for pastors. We demand them to have an education that surpasses any CEO of a Fortune 500 company. They need to be great communicators with the ability to draw in the masses like a celebrity. They need to be the CFO so the money is better spent. A degree in counseling and we expect them to repair our marriages and relationships within minutes that took years to destroy. Did I forget to mention years of experience too? How can one man be expected to meet such expectations?
We measure the success of a pastor by the numbers. When the church is packed and the money is flowing in everything seems to be great. Do we dare say a blessing? Sounds like college football to me. One losing season and you are out. When did corporate America suddenly dictate how the church is to be conducted? Have we moved from church members to shareholders? Are we looking for serving Christ and saving the lost or just looking for a return on our investment? I cannot tell you how many church meetings I have attended that spent more time reviewing a balance sheet than focusing on missions or discipleship.
How do we measure the success of a pastor? The same way we should measure the success of a church.
- Is the pastor’s faith stronger with the Lord than when he first begun? Whatever the answer we as a congregation need to minister to our ministers.
- Is the congregations’ walk with the Lord stronger now than before? Ask the Sunday School teachers and they will tell you who is thirsting for God’s Word and who is there for the social meeting.
- Is the congregation participating in worship? Ask the choir members for they see first hand who is engaged in worship and who is there for the entertainment value.
- Are lay leaders being trained and actively involved in part of the overall ministry of the church?
- Is there an active new church member class being conducted each month?
- Is the church supporting the development and making opportunities for members to enter into the ministry?
- Is outreach a habit of the congregation rather than a chore?
- Is the church actively involved in new church planting or a cooperative program?
- Is the church part of the local neighborhood or part of the highway road show with signs rivaling those of an Indian Casino or Wal-mart?
- Do the sermons contain more text from God’s Word than jokes and illustrations?
Not one of these 10 measurements involves the American Corporate yardstick of what they call success. Just ask a cattle rancher. You might have more cows than the other ranch but that does not mean better beef. You need to decide if your goal is raising hamburger or steak.
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