Having just finished the series on thriving in the battle, I was praying about what to say to all you wonderful leaders and pastors and I heard one word in my spirit very gently spoke: behave! We as leaders must behave! What chaos has happened in the world, how many people have given up on the Lord, how many churches have died prematurely, how many marriages have failed because pastors have not behaved? We who are in Christian leadership should behave like it is so.
Paul wrote a letter to the pastor of the thriving church in Ephesus and said “you must know how to behave yourself in the house of God” (1 Tim. 3.15). All pastors should know how to behave in the church! If you don’t know, no one will. Pastoring is hard work and there is a temptation to take short cuts – with money, with relationships, with information. There is pressure on pastors, but we can stand those pressures and behave. And as leaders we need to behave circumspectly, what for someone else is just a bit of foolishness, can lead to people failing to understand what we stand for. Little foxes can spoil the vines! (Song of Songs 2.15).
When Jesus called the apostles, His primary calling for them was not to raise the dead, plant a church and do great meetings. No – it was to be with Him (Mark 3.14). Why did they have to spend time with Him? A whole host of reasons – but one of them was to learn how to behave! We need to be with Jesus to learn how to behave like Jesus! Ministry is hard work and a lot of pressure, but we still have to behave.
And we must as ministers never stop learning, never stop growing, never stop developing our character! Learning does not stop when we get the job or graduate Bible College, we need to keep learning. One of the best ways to learn is to have Pauls in your life – ministers with proven track records of behaving. I have learned so much from men like Dave Duell, Greg Mohr, Robert Maasbach, and they have helped me learn how to behave in the house of the Lord.
How can we behave in the house of the Lord? There are definite Biblical principles we can follow to help us behave, there are also other principles which might not be straight out of the Bible but will help us stay safe and keep wise and keep our ministries pure and upright. I don’t have all the answers but I have some, and such as I have I will give to you.
- In any church, there can only be one head. So every time you plant a new church aim to quickly and clearly appoint a pastor and let everyone know who that pastor is. I have seen people try and run a church by committee and it is a dreadful thing. The head has the eyes – it has the vision, but it also feels the pain when any part of the body is in pain. The head of the church must be the head of the church and be confident that he or she is the head of the church.
- The head must raise up a team and train them. The more people in the team the more can be produced and the more fruitful the ministry can be. However, you must be careful to only appoint people who are credible, capable and compatible. Anyone who cannot receive your instructions should not be appointed a leader. Anyone who thinks they are indispensable should not be appointed a leader.
- Never be a weak leader, someone will come along and take advantage of you. This is true in any church in the world – if the pastor is not strong and leading clearly, someone else is. It’s that simple. You let people know that you are the head and you know it. You set the pace, and do not let anyone dominate you or take advantage of you hesitating and being cowardly.
- Let everyone in your team (I mean associate pastors, assistants, elders, deacons, ushers – everyone who serves is team) know what you expect from them. Never have a hidden agenda, pastor, let people know what you want and where you are going! Let them know what kind of church you intend to pastor.
- Praise in public, correct in private.
- Always take the blame, you are the leader. 100% of the blame. Somehow it is your fauilt and it is your job to put it right.
- Never ever complain about any of your team. Ever.
- Give your team opportunities. See yourself as the coach of a winning team and let others make the plays! Even the important things!
- When you are with your team, do not treat them as servants, but as friends. That’s how Jesus did it.
- Eat with your team every chance you get (see Matthew 26.26)