Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How to Fail as a Pastor

1. In Your teaching, answer questions that nobody is asking. Put your dusty commentaries back on the shelf where they belong. Nobody cares was Sir So-and-So said three hundred years ago. Quit quoting dead men.

2. Possess one skill: how to exegete a text. The typical seminary training one receives to be a pastor focuses primarily on learning theology. Churches in the twenty-first century however are very complex and require pastors to possess a variety of skills as overseers. Learning theology and how to exegete Scripture is not enough.

3. Do not equip yourself to lead a complex enterprise. Churches today are more complex than churches of yesterday. Long gone are the days of just picking up a Bible and starting a church. Pastors today must deal with zoning laws, political leaders, community boards, banks, business and community leaders. Pastors must know something about Real Estate and picking out good property. He must hire an architect, lawyers, etc, and undergo a grueling capital stewardship campaign. Without a capital campaign you’ll never be able to build, yet these campaigns are enough to destroy a church. Developing ministries within the church, structuring them accordingly, and leading an expanding organization is very, very complicated.

4. Mismanage your personal finances. Pastors must know when to expand programs and facilities by financing, or when to do it by cash. They must continually monitor incoming cash flow against expenses to ensure that the church is in the black and stays financially strong. But if you can’t even manage your own checking account or stay out of credit card debt in your personal life, then handling a church budget will be too much for you. You will fail. As the Bible says, "a pastor not not be greedy… For if a man does not know how to manage his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (I Timothy 3:3,5)

5. Be so naive that you resist business practices. Like it or not, churches must be operated by sound business and administrative principles. Simply having an anointed church service on Sunday morning cannot build a successful church. You must have continual vision casting, strategic planning, goals, strategies, implementation and administration of the vision, leadership development, discipleship training, team building, complying with state and federal laws, allocating of resources, managing facilities, evaluating ministries, keep books and records of account, and manage a budget. Only a nincompoop would suggest otherwise.

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