5 Tips Every Lead Pastor Should Know

Someone once said to me that pastoring can sometimes feel like herding cats while blind. I didn't ask if the cats were blind or if the pastor were blind because it didn't matter in making the point. Pastoring is challenging at times, and can be extremely difficult at other times, but it can also be very rewarding, fulfilling, and inspirational.

In an effort to maximize the rewarding part of pastoring and minimizing the difficult part, here are five tips every lead pastor should know.

1. Take great care in finding, hiring, and leading your staff. Even in a small church, pastoring effectively can only be done with a competent team following a good plan. There are simply too many tasks to be done. If you, as the lead pastor, attempt to handle everything, something will get missed and people will be let down. It is inevitable. Therefore, finding the right people to join the staff and doing everything you can to train, mentor, pray over, and lead them is crucial to your success.

2. Schedule a specific time each week for sermon prep. With so much going on in the church, it is so very easy to put off preparing for your sermon. However, preaching God's Word is vital to the church and so critical to reaching the lost. You must spend time preparing for each message you preach, so block off the time on your schedule and make it clear to your staff to cover any duties that come up so you can remain uninterrupted while you prepare.

3. Focus on your family. It is an age-old problem whereby the pastor becomes so enmeshed in the duties of the church that he spends little to no time with his wife and children. Do not fall into this trap! Just as you scheduled time for sermon prep, also schedule a time each week to date your wife and play with the children. If you have more meeting requests than you can possibly cover, bring this to the attention of the deacons or elders and explain how you must have help in the form of their participation or by increasing the staff budget. Also, be sure to make it clear the time you set aside for your family and for sermon prep is not on the table.

4. Never stop learning. Just because you've graduated from seminary doesn't mean your education is over. Keep learning and keep the passion for learning. Most seminaries have continuing education courses that are low-cost and available online. Take advantage of these courses and stress the importance of continuing education to your elder or deacon board. Ideally, the deacon or elder board should be open to allowing you time for such courses and willing to cover the costs.

5. Keep on keeping on. The road can be difficult at times, and I do not know of a pastor who did not want to quit at one time or another. If this is you, press on through prayer and, more importantly, be willing to reach out to a fellow pastor for support. We all need each other, so rely on your fellow pastors when you need someone to walk alongside you. After all, we are called to help bear one another’s burdens in the body of Christ. So leverage your community when you’re on the brink of burnout, and ask the Lord to encourage you through the brothers and sisters in Christ He’s placed in your life.  

In closing, know that we here at Fellowship Connections are praying for you and your fellow pastors to stay the course and, as Paul wrote, to "run with endurance the race that is set before us." (Heb 12:1 ESV) Stay true to your calling and press ahead as you strive each day to lead your congregation. May the Lord bless and keep you as you do!

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