Usually when a church gets started, the pastor has a significant connection with everyone who comes to church. Often the pastor is one of the first people to welcome them as visitor. If they choose to return, new members develop a good relationship with the pastor, and begin to look to the pastor for prayer, wisdom, comfort, and friendship.
In India I have noticed that the expectations church members have for their pastor is particularly large. In addition to times of crises, when the pastor is expected to come to the hospital to pray or provide counseling during a marriage conflict, there are also a lot of social obligations, like attending birthdays or blessing a new four-wheeler.
In addition, members of the church expect the pastor to always have an open door policy. If they come by the pastors house, of course he or she will drop what their doing, and spend time with their church members.
The pastor is expected to not only be “the pastor to everyone”, they are also expected to be “the pastor of everything”. One pastor recently shared with me that he once received a call from a member asking for help with a small child who wasn’t eating properly.
Unfortunately these expectations limit the growth of the church. Most churches can’t grow much beyond 50 adults with this approach. As the church grows, the pastor begins to get overwhelmed by the demands. Something has to be sacrificed. It may be the pastors spiritual life, or family life, or preaching. This can lead to the pastor burning out or even quitting.
Similarly, as the church get bigger, sooner or later some people start to feel like they are being overlooked. At first they may just complain, but eventually they decide to go to another church where they can receive the attention they have learned to expect.
Moses faced this same kind of problem in Exodus 18,
When his father-in-law saw all that Moses was doing for the people, he said, “What is this you are doing for the people? Why do you alone sit as judge, while all these people stand around you from morning till evening? . . . What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone.” (Exodus 18:14,17-18)
Here is the advice Moses received from his father in law:
“But select capable men from all the people—men who fear God, trustworthy men who hate dishonest gain—and appoint them as officials over thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. Have them serve as judges for the people at all times, but have them bring every difficult case to you; the simple cases they can decide themselves. That will make your load lighter, because they will share it with you. If you do this and God so commands, you will be able to stand the strain, and all these people will go home satisfied.” (Exodus 18:14,17-18)
WHAT ARE SOME AREAS IN YOUR CHURCH THAT YOU ARE DOING EVERYTHING?
WHO ARE SOME PEOPLE YOU COULD RECRUIT TO HELP YOU IN EACH OF THOSE AREAS?
WHAT KIND OF TRAINING WOULD YOU NEED TO PROVIDE FOR THEM?