I mentored a college student who lived in our home for a couple years. We had many talks while laying bricks for landscaping or putting chips along the path we got from tree trimmers in our neighborhood. We even talked about starting a business called “Chips and Bricks!” He is now an assistant pastor, and I still get to mentor him a bit when questions come up about ministry.
“We have had several accidents/deaths happen in the past month in our church. It has caused the senior pastor and me to be running around to different families, funerals and visitations. I am not against these things, but I wonder how much the pastor should be doing. I could see burnout coming by trying and take care of everyone’s emergency while trying to write a sermon and lead a church. It feels like the sermon and the leading are taking a back seat to other issues, because my boss is rushing off to the latest disaster. How did you handle this at your church? Did you have elders doing that or did you try to do everything yourself?
I believe strongly in the plurality of elders. As pastor, I was the lead elder. I once visited Marie in the hospital. She said to me, “You didn’t have to come. Les was already here.” Les was a “layman” (we never used that word) who had a gift of caring for people. Just about everyone in the congregation knew that. The more that leaders develop leaders (in their own sphere of gifting), the less they have to do it all. Proverbs says that our gifts make room for us and bring us before great people (18:16). ” Gift-oriented ministry means that we take seriously what God has put in all people!
Peter, an especially strong leader, wrote, “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace; whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies” (1 Peter 4:10,11). And Paul said, “Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them; if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; he who teaches, in his teaching; he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who contributes, with liberality; he who gives aid, with zeal; he who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness” (Romans 12:6-8).
Three things are clear in the New Testament:
- I got gifts; you got gifts. All God’s chil’en got gifts.
- One primary assignment of leaders is helping people discover and walk in their gifts.
- Leaders who do this effectively are more equipped to do what they are called to do–lead and love. Imagine the church where this is fully happening. I want to be a part of that church!!