Staying Alive in a Growing Church
There's lots of things in the world that creates energy and excitement; a championship basketball game, the Super Bowl, or even a good movie. Yet I believe there's hardly anything that can compete with the excitement of a growing church, especially if you're a pastor or serve on staff at a church. Every pastor wants his church to grow; and when it does, it is exhilarating. However, with success comes stress and when a lead pastor and staff ignores the stress, the season of success can be short lived. Typically growth-related stress hurts us because it causes us to neglect crucial areas in our own personal lives.
Here are three train-wrecks you want to avoid as your church grows. As a lead pastor, you need to make sure your staff is aware of these as well. If you'll take care of these, chances are, you and your staff will stay alive and endure the stress that comes with the success of every growing church.
- Grocery-Store Death: Too often pastors and lead staff spend all their energy and efforts in seeing that others are spiritually well fed, while they starve to death. They will read, plan, and prepare lessons and sermons to share with their people. Of course, God speaks to us in our planning and prepping, but we must break the habit of searching for a sermon every time we open the Bible. We need to read God's Word for ourselves. When your Bible time is always a sermon search, you'll go hungry. It's the same as starving to death in a grocery store; you feed everyone but yourself. Read Hebrews 4:12. Remember, you need the Word of God for YOU. You need it's life-giving power in your personal life. Don't feed the people, while starving to death yourself. Feed yourself too, and then you'll be able to better feed others.
- Prayer-Warrior Sickness: As leaders, we spend a lot of our time praying for the needs of others. It's good to pray for others, but don't neglect your own prayer life. When praying for others becomes the definition of your prayer-life, you quickly become the devil's punching bag. Read Matthew 16:18-19. Jesus gave YOU power to overcome the adversities in your own life. Pray for others, but make time to sit at the feet of Jesus and let him minister to your needs too; then you can better pray for others.
- Cheerleader Crisis: Every weekend we encourage people to worship God. We pour tons of energy into making sure the worship songs, the instrumentation, and the sermons are powerful. Yet don't allow what you do on Sunday to define your worship. When intimate worship is missing in our personal lives, we unintentionally become a weekend cheerleader. The truth is, while we do worship God on the weekends, as pastors and leaders, we are still always working. You need your worship with God. Read John 4:23-24. Jesus said God is looking for true worshippers (which means there is a false worship). Our worship must be deeper than a weekend service. Put on some groovy worship tunes, shut the door, bow before Him, and worship Him! It'll change your life!