In the first post of this series, I began a discussion on the importance of pastors establishing healthy boundaries in ministry.
As it’s an area in which I have personally struggled—and one in which I continue to grow—I’m passionate about sharing what I have learned in order to help others not make the same mistakes I did.
In the next four posts, I will share keys to establishing these boundaries. Think of them as four fence posts surrounding a healthy ministry.
The first “post” supporting a healthy ministry is to recognize your role in the church.
You, as the pastor, are not ultimately responsible for the church. While you do have some responsibility, only King Jesus bears the final responsibility.
When this boundary is ignored, the church ends up being built around the pastor, who then actually becomes part of the problem rather than the solution.
At my second church plant, we had grown to a congregation of about 125 after 18 months. While this might seem like a positive development, it became a bit of an Achilles heel for me. The attendance numbers became my driving force from week to week.
I would actually take time every Saturday to personally call all of our regular and occasional attendees and encourage them to be at church the next day. I was convinced that if I didn’t call everyone, the church would fall apart the next day. Because my identity was so wrapped up in our weekly attendance, if the church numbers collapsed the next day, my life, in effect, would collapse with it.
When pastors misunderstand their role like I did, they tend to put all their focus on some predetermined view of success rather than those things they are biblically called to, such as shepherding and equipping.
Thankfully, a combination of my wife and a pastor friend in another town lovingly pointed out to me I needed to make some changes. It resulted in my resignation. Well, sort of.
I actually got up one Sunday and “resigned.” (Yep, I used air quotes.) I told my congregation I was going to resign as the sole shepherd and caregiver of the church.
I apologized for not creating proper boundaries and explained I was restructuring. Using some very 1990s language (which wasn’t too terrible because it was the 1990s), I explained that I was going to move into a “rancher” role while appointing “shepherds” who worked there. It was a big step of growth, both for the church and myself.
Although moving to a decentralized ministry model was a good step, it was a hard step. In the next boundary “post,” we will examine the difficulty of creating healthy boundaries: The pastor has to be healthy enough to create the boundary.
Ed Stetzer is the president of LifeWay Research. This is the second of a four-part series called “Mystery Fenceposts.”
Get Spirit-filled content delivered right to your inbox! Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.
Help Charisma stay strong for years to come as we report on life in the Spirit. Become an integral part of Charisma’s work by joining Charisma Media Partners. Click here to keep us strong!
Dr. Mark Rutland's
National Institute of Christian Leadership (NICL)
The NICL is one of the top leadership training programs in the U.S. taught by Dr. Mark Rutland. If you're the type of leader that likes to have total control over every aspect of your ministry and your future success, the NICL is right for you!
FREE NICL MINI-COURSE - Enroll for 3-hours of training from Dr. Rutland's full leadership course. Experience the NICL and decide if this training is right for you and your team.Do you feel stuck? Do you feel like you’re not growing? Do you need help from an expert in leadership? There is no other leadership training like the NICL. Gain the leadership skills and confidence you need to lead your church, business or ministry. Get ready to accomplish all of your God-given dreams. CLICK HERE for NICL training dates and details.
The NICL Online is an option for any leader with time or schedule constraints. It's also for leaders who want to expedite their training to receive advanced standing for Master Level credit hours. Work through Dr. Rutland's full training from the comfort of your home or ministry at your pace. Learn more about NICL Online. Learn more about NICL Online.