"Success" in ministry
This is reprinted from the metamorpha blog.
It is really great food for thought re: our criteria for "success" in church planting/ church leadership. What do you think?
What You Need
by Jamin Goggin
I recently came across an interview with a pastor at an influential church in the United States talking about church planting. The two prongs of the discussion basically covered successes and failures in church planting. A large portion of the interview was focused on challenges in church planting and conversely what is needed to "succeed" in planting a church. The pastor gave a list of three things that are clearly needed for success-(1) charismatic leader, (2) leader who can communicate well, and (3) leader who is adept at strategic thinking.
What I first found interesting was the complete collapse of needs into the Senior Pastor. A gifted person is what is needed most. Of course, how one defines "success" plays a large role in these perceived needs. If we are defining success as gathering the most people as quickly as possible to the church then of course a more pragmatic turn is liable to be taken. Don't get me wrong I understand that if the pastor cannot communicate, is terribly awkward with people or is not a strategic thinker then the church will face challenges. My problem is not that the pragmatic is considered, but rather that is the sole concern.
I do not seek to explore my concerns from an ecclesiological perspective. I have many. Rather, I want to approach this issue with a spiritual formation lense. In that vain, what is striking to me is that while the needs of the "successful" church plant are solely wrapped up in a person, the Senior Pastor, the reasons are not spiritually oriented what so over, but rather are purely founded in natural ability. Meaning what is needed in the leader most is as skill-set not holiness. It is shocking to me that of the top three things listed the spiritual health and maturity of the pastor is not even mentioned. So, what are your thoughts? This impacts other areas. For example, what do churches look for when they hire a new pastor? How do we gauge the value and leadership ability of our pastors?
What three things are needed for "success" in ministry?
- Love - (1 Cor 13: 1-8, 13; Rev 2: 1-4; Matt 22: 36-40)
- Humility (John 13: 12-17) - remember Jesus said, "I will build my church" (Matt 16:18)
- Doing what the Father is doing (John 5:19) (resulting in fruits which seems to be revealed through abiding - John 15: 4,16-17)