Churches can have a lot of questions of their pastors. Some of them can be theological (it's always fun to get asked eschatology questions), others can be ethical, or scheduling, or church direction, or any number of others. If you're lucky, you'll be asked to be a part of people's lives in those benchmark moments. If you're not, you'll be asked to bring a plunger and hurry.
You'll get asked questions and have questions asked about you. It's part of the job. At the core, I think churches have four questions of their pastors.
1. Does our pastor believe what he's preaching?
It's easy to talk theologically and to get in the language of Christianese. A good public speaker can learn enough about preaching to fill a pulpit. But it's completely different when a church knows its pastor is not only speaking about the Bible, but has been gripped by their firm conviction and steadfast belief in the Bible. A pastor who truly believes what they're saying will be shaped and driven by what the Bible says, not just knowledgeable enough to speak about it. A pastor who truly believes what they're saying won't just run through the motions or look at their work as mechanical. It'll be dynamic. Alive. Vibrant. And contagious.
2. Does our pastor care about our church?
I think at some point all of us have been asked, accused, or inferred that our current situation is a "stepping stone" for something "bigger and better." And while there may be some out there who do look at their position as a chance to jockey for another, the overwhelming majority of pastors are people who deeply care about where they've planted their lives and their families. I don't think longevity is a 1:1 correlation to care, but it certainly trends that way. Our churches want to know that we care about them, that we love where we are, and that we don't see our calling and assignment as a ladder to climb.
3. Does our pastor want God's best for our church & community?
The difference between a shepherd and a hireling is that a shepherd wants the best for the flock and for the community. The hireling looks to see what they can get from the flock and community. Churches want to know their pastor is looking for God's best for them and for their community. They want to know you care about evangelism and taking the Gospel to our community. They want to know you want to grow in unity and health as a church. They want to know you care about wise financial stewardship and healthy spending.
4. Does our pastor love me?
This is where the question gets personal. People want to know their pastor cares for and loves them. They want to know that to you, they're more than a project or giving units or cogs in a growth strategy. They want to know you ache when their spouse passes away, or that you are glad when their PET scan is clear. They want to know that you're genuinely glad to see them on Sunday. They want to know that when they call you that they'll be greeted warmly, lovingly, and graciously by their pastor. They want to know that they're not a distraction, but that you love them.
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Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.