Today I’m continuing a series of posts about our upcoming churchplanters.com conference, Velocity 2011 on February 21 and 22. Each Tuesday until the conference will be dedicated to some of my favorite people – church planters! Today, I wanted to share the “why behind the what.” Let’s dive in.
Pastors face pressure.
Pastors deal with untold amounts of it. Untold, you ask? Yes, untold.
You see, many people in the ministry bear the burdens and struggles of the people they serve – much of it private and secret. But, that’s just the beginning of it. Pastors also deal with the daily tasks of running an organization – complete with financial forecasts, team building, leadership development, casting vision, and “putting out the fires” of daily business. Oh, but it doesn’t end there, either. Pastors – God’s men and women to lead the church – feel the burden to guide their flock to repentance and to teach them how to live the Christian life. The burden pastors feel to see people experience God’s grace is overwhelming, at times. And, then there’s the often unspoken pressure – spiritual warfare. It’s not “PC” to talk about it, really. Not in today’s world. You’ll be labelled a Christian extremist. But, the truth is spiritual warfare is real, and pastors can attest to it. Those of us on the front lines of ministry battle daily in this warfare. We often bear the scars from what the physical world cannot see. Pastors don’t share theses burdens with their churches. And, so they remain untold.
But, another pressure remains. One that pastors put on themselves. One that can lead not only to their discontentment, but ultimately to their demise….and to the harm of the churches they lead.
Comparison. It’s more deadly than it sounds. It begins with a Pastor taking note of another church’s baptism rate or new building or latest recognition. It causes that Pastor to forget the call that God gave him and instead try to become flashier, more outspoken, or to imitate other people, rather than imitating God. Ultimately, the comparison game ends with a broken man. Sometimes, it ends with repentance and healing. Other times it ends with a damaged mission….or a moral failure.
Do you think I’m being a little macabre? I don’t. Just this past week, I learned of another pastor’s moral failure. He took his eyes off of Jesus and put them on the world around him. Big mistake. And, it’s costing him, his marriage, and his church dearly.
My husband bears many of these burdens. Caring for his flock, leading his team, overseeing our church…..just like any other Pastor, he has a lot on his plate. But, he bears another burden, too. He cares about the spiritual health and vitality of church planters. He wants to see them plant successful churches and stay sane in the process. He wants them to lead out in ministry without losing their marriages. He wants them to celebrate the fruit that God produces in their churches without comparing it to what’s happening at the mega-church they idolize. He knows the pitfalls of planting churches. He’s lived them.
That’s one of the reasons my husband started Churchplanters.com with our partner, David Putman. Planting a church is not for the faint of heart. Having experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows, he knows that the Pastor planting a church MUST be spiritually mature, business savvy, visionary in his thinking, and secure in his calling. And, so, that’s our goal at Churchplanters.com – to equip men and women to plant heathy, vibrant churches that will impact their communities for Christ! Through our Coaching Network, our annual conferences, and nationwide speaking engagements, Shawn is working hard to set other planters up for success – strategically, physically, financially, spiritually, and relationally.
I don’t want to see another Pastor feel unfulfilled in his calling because he’s not part of a bigger church. I don’t want to see another Pastor burned out from the high-stress life of ministry. I don’t want to see another church ripped apart by the moral failure of its Lead Pastor. I don’t want to see another Pastor so consumed with gaining the next big victory that he never celebrates the ones God just gave him. And, I never want to see a church plant fail.
What about you? As a leader in ministry, you NEED someone to keep you accountable to the calling God gave you. You NEED someone to give you an attitude check from time to time. We all do. But, especially our leaders.
Whether you’re considering planting, you’ve launched, or you’ve been serving a church for a while, what Shawn has to say to all of us at Velocity 2011 will be life changing….ministry changing. May God use our time together to establish a firm foundation for us all.
Register for Velocity 2011 here…..right now. See you February 21 and 22.