Lest You Think You’re Unimportant…

Just in case you think you are unimportant as a pastor to the growth and attitude of a congregation, read this excerpt from Bishop Willimon’s weekly message,

In visits to countless congregations, and in my own pastoral experience, I have come to the rather frightening conclusion that pastors are a decisive element in the vitality and mission of the church. To be sure, as we have said repeatedly, the pastor is not to assume all ministry in the church. The baptized are the chief ministers in the name of Christ. Pastors are to lead through service rather than dominance. The Holy Spirit is the source of all ministry. But having said all that, we still must say that the pastor is decisive. The pastor’s mood and attitude sets the tone for the congregation, conveys hope and energy to the people, hurts and heals, binds and releases. Sometimes, as a pastor, I wish it were not so, but it is. What Jesus wants for the church must become incarnate in a pastor or, in my experience, it does not happen.


I recall a distinguished church growth consultant who, in a workshop on congregational development, spent more than an hour listing all of the factors that were relevant to the vitality and growth of a congregation. There must have been more than two score of such factors listed. Then he led us in discussion. The first person to speak was a layperson who asked, “But don’t you think the pastor is a key factor in all of this?”


The consultant replied, “Oh, certainly. If the pastor’s leadership is lacking, you can discount everything that I have listed on the board. All of these factors contribute to growth. But if the pastor is inadequate, none of the factors that I have listed make any difference.”

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