Have you ever tried to tell a preacher that you don’t think he’s actually gifted in preaching?
Of course not! Almost all of us would agree, it would be best to let him find out on his own! However, what if he’s waiting for someone to tell him?
Unfortunately, many a man has headed off to Bible College aspiring to become like all the preachers they look up to. Lo and behold, they end up graduating, invigorated to do Kingdom work; then end up in a church, giving mediocre messages with minimal passion. They’re stuck.
But what happened? What went wrong?
Generally a year or two after taking on his first church, he wakes up one morning feeling trapped. This is not what he imagined full-time ministry would look like, and it all comes down to gifting.
He has come to the realisation that though he was invigorated by all his favourite preachers, he’d rather spend his week visiting the sick and elderly, helping the homeless or perhaps, just focusing on administrative tasks. Anything but preaching another sermon!
Nevertheless, he’s now locked in his office studying two or more days per week. To which he fulfils the main focus of his job description, centred around the Sunday messages. However, each hour of study does not bring him any nearer to preparation; now knowing that preaching is not only low on his gifted ability, but even lower on his level of enjoyment.
Yet he carries on without ever telling a soul.
Believe it or not, this is more common than we care to admit. Many pastors will stay in this situation for years, never confiding in their leadership due to fear of job loss.
I’m not saying I have a clear answer, but there are some clues in our opening question. Is it possible to have an excellent Senior Pastor who doesn’t preach every Sunday? Traditionally, we would say it’s not possible. Yet, considering the number of excellent leaders out there who struggle with public speaking, it has to be possible!
Even small churches have Deacons and Elders, or even lay-leaders who would be willing to give the odd message. Obviously, there would be some scheduling details to figure out. Nevertheless, think of the benefit of freeing pastoral staff to assist in designing their own job descriptions, centred around their gifting and ministry passions!
Maybe this is too out there for most churches? Yet, maybe its part of the solution to high pastoral turnover? Maybe we could keep more pastors around by simply asking them to define their roles, instead of us telling them?
Why do you think pastors should have input into defining their pastoral roles?