Thursday, March 6, 2008

Q & A with the pastor...

I am asked questions all the time. I think people have an interest in this strange world of being a pastor. The following list of questions are some I hear the most. Hope you find it insightful - it's revealing.

Who are you key staff members?
Those people who I have disappointed and they stayed with me anyway.

Who are your key leaders? Those people who defend me to the people who get mad and leave. That’s who they are.

Who are your future leaders? Those who are supportive and loyal. When I find myself going through seasons of intense criticism, all I have to do is look around and find out who my supporters are. I have just identified my future leaders and staff members.

How does it affect you when people leave the church? Sometimes it bothers me, but not always. Sometimes more than at other times. But I can deal with it. Moses didn’t get everyone into the promised land and Jesus didn’t get through to all of His disciples either, so I’m in good company. I know I’m going to lose people along the way. That’s life. I deal with it. I move on.

Besides, the wonderful thing about people is that God is making more of them.

What do you look for in a church leader? Character and Chemistry. Character means integrity, loyalty, honesty, things like that. Chemistry means we click – are on the same page, I like the person. We can work together and get along. It’s relational.

Does it take courage to lead? Yes. Serving on church staff is not for the faint-of-heart. It takes courage and strength to lead a church. If I’m afraid of people I can’t lead them, much less influence them. The ironic thing is we preachers tell stories of Daniel in the lion’s den after he stood up to the king, and we won’t even stand up to church elders or our critics. What’s that all about? We talk about David & Goliath, Jesus & the Pharisees, and other heroes of the Bible and we’re afraid to confront people. Yes, it takes a lot of courage to be a Biblical leader.

How do you handle problem people? I don’t think it is good to allow problem people to have any room or authority. Once it is apparent they are a liability to our mission, I deal with them quickly, directly, lovingly, and firmly. I care so much about advancing the kingdom of God that I will do anything, even to the point of not being nice, for the sake of the gospel. I look to Jesus and the apostle Paul for my example in this matter.

Who do you dislike? I think Christian “poseurs" (an insincere person) bother me the most – those Pharisee-types who are self-righteous and believe they have a corner on the kingdom and all truth, and put themselves above other believers.

These Bible-thumpers have no heart. They forget that knowledge puffs up (I Cor. 8:1) often making them arrogant and condescending. In contrast, the Bible teaches that but love builds up (I Cor. 8:1).

What do you think about church growth that occurs through sheep transfer? That’s not growth. That’s pathetic. Since day one of PCC our mission has been to target the irreligious for evangelism and then grow them in discipleship. After ten years, the mission is still the same. God has blessed us in that effort and He still is. That's why we have grown so much and that's why so many lives have been truly changed by Christ's power.

I would be embarrassed (as a pastor) if I could not reach people for Christ myself. Any pastor who is building his church through transfer growth is impotent. He's shooting blanks when he preaches the gospel because it's all theory - he's not making it work for himself. The proof is in the pudding; either you are reaching people for Christ or you are not.

Please get out of the ministry if that’s all you can do.

You can teach what you know, but you will reproduce what you are.

A Church Planter who has not built on another mans foundation.