Aubrey Malphurs | October 22, 2013
One of the constant struggles church leaders face is determining how to achieve alignment between congregational and pastoral expectations. If you are reading this, you likely are a Christian leader. You also are likely to attend a church that expects the pastors to do the ministry of the church (most do).
After all, that’s what they hired you for, right?
Many churches hire their pastor looking for someone to do the ministry. People are busy, and the other staff is overloaded. The pastors are the paid professionals.
So churches hire more and more staff. Which is why you are right: most churches do hire their pastors to do most of the ministry. Here’s the problem: relying on pastors to do most of the ministry IS NOT BIBLICAL.
Ephesians 4:12 teaches that pastors and teachers are to “equip the saints for the work of ministry, that is, to build up the body of Christ." A pastor’s primary responsibility is NOT to do the entire ministry. Those in pastoral ministry are to equip (i.e. – train, lead, and develop) others for ministry that builds up the body of Christ.
Here is a list of implications for pastoral ministry and churches who DO NOT ignore Ephesians 4:12:
1) Pastors should be evaluated on how many leaders they are developing.
Many people evaluate pastors on how often the visit the sick or how often they preach. Some churches even evaluate them on if they maintained their office hours. These methods are flawed.
Evaluate your pastor on how many leaders he’s developing.
2) Pastors should have leadership development as a major component of their job description.
If leader development isn’t in their job description, it will never get done. This affects who you hire, as it will drive the questions that you ask during the hiring process.
3) All individuals serving in professional ministry should be equipping–not just the senior pastor.
Equipping is not the role of a certain pastor only. All ministry leaders in your church should be equipping others; this includes everything from children’s ministry to senior citizens.
4) Few pastors should have pastoral care as a primary ministry activity.
They should be evaluated on how well they are developing leaders to do pastoral care and to train others to do pastoral care. Senior pastors will never have the time or energy to lead, if they are doing the majority (if not all) of the pastoral care.
5) Pastors must teach Ephesians 4 in order to destroy the “pastor does all the ministry” mentality.
This mentality has done more to harm the church than almost anything else. We’ve created a form of Christianity that I like to call “Spectator Christianity.” Some would say it stronger than that…it’s Unbiblical Christianity.
Pastors, if you aren’t equipping leaders for ministry, you are ignoring a key verse and harming your church. These changes will likely take time. Start teaching through the book of Ephesians and be ready to camp out in Ephesians 4 for a couple weeks if you have to.
6) “Doing all the ministry” robs your church members of opportunities to serve.
God intends for everyone to be involved in ministry and created each member of the church uniquely to do so. Don’t rob others of the opportunity by doing it all. Equip them, trust them, and then start challenging them to develop leaders.
7) Churches must require service according to the church’s philosophy.
Everyone who is a member (and preferably many more) should be serving on a weekly basis. If this isn’t occurring, the pastoral staff is likely not focused on the right areas. Remember: every member, a servant. Otherwise, you aren’t leading or shepherding your flock.
If these implications strike close to home and you desire to take steps to better train leaders at your church, I encourage you to explore Ministry Grid. Their mission is that of Ephesians 4 and the resources and tools they will provide are ideal for churches who want to develop leaders at all levels. I am excited about this new leadership training platform and the service it will offer the church.