Caring for Your Church (without Wearing Yourself Out!), Part 2 by Mark Harrell

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In my last blog, we explored how developing a balanced life and cultivating the right attitudes will help you as a pastor not wear out but care for your church in a powerful way. In this blog, we’ll dive right in to discussing how organization and flexibility, among other things, will cause you to be the leader God has called you to be – one that will make it for the long haul and finish strong!

Organization eliminates confusion, can you agree? Confusion messes you up so that you can’t care for your church properly, and ultimately it will cause you to wear yourself out. One of the best things you can do for your church is to organize your life.

Disorganization can leak into your marriage, your family, your church, your finances, your relationships, and on and on. Disorganization will prevent you from getting ahead. You must deal with disorganization wherever it’s found before it leads to disaster. 

Organization starts with inventory. Counting is critical. Whether it’s your time, your money, your possessions, your relationships, you have to know what you have. Jesus asked His disciples how many loaves they had. Then He fed five thousand men. But he started with an accurate count. 

Organization is about elimination. What do you need to get rid of? If we are all honest, here in America we have too much stuff. We probably can’t even open some of our closets or the garage door without fear of an avalanche crushing us. I could get rid of half the stuff in my closet and half the stuff in the garage, and I wouldn’t even know it’s gone. We just have too much stuff. Organization simplifies. The genius of anything is how simple can we keep it – not how complicated but how simple.

I had a friend show me a computer program that takes all his receipts and categorizes them for his taxes. I looked at him and said, “How much time does that take?” I take about an hour or so every week, and it keeps me organized.” He asked, “What do you do?” I said, “Well, brother, I have a shoe box. I put my receipts in there, and two or three times a year, I take about 30 minutes and put them in the right pile, and before I go see my CPA, I take about an hour to get them organized.” So I said, “I think I’ll stick to mine. It’s just a little bit simpler!”

Organization is about grouping. This is so important. Jesus set the men down in groups of 50 and 100 before He fed them. When you successfully assign each thing in your life to a group, you have begun organizing.  When you organize, you can begin to expand, grow, develop. Grouping your money is called a budget. Grouping your time is called a calendar. Grouping the members in your church is called discipleship. Grouping your garage is called a miracle! So grouping is very important in organizing your life. See, this is all about not wearing yourself out while you’re caring for your church.

Organization is about efficiency. When we are disorganized, we waste. We waste time, we waste money, we waste our focus, we miss opportunities from the Lord. We’re not efficient. You organize your money when you stop wasting it.  Jesus told His disciples to gather up everything left over. He did not like waste. They picked up twelve baskets. Maybe that little boy took that all home and said, “I ate and look what I brought home!”  I don’t know what happened to it, but it wasn’t wasted. Someone got it, and they were able to use it later.

Organization is about systems. The greatest pastors are those who develop a system for their members to mature in Christ. That’s our goal: Make disciples, see them mature, and send them out to reach the world. Find your system. What works in your region, your city, for you personally? Everybody’s different, but you have to have something. If your current system is broken or unproductive and it’s aggravating you, for heaven’s sakes, fix it! I personally believe Significant Church can be a great tool to help any pastor develop good systems in his life. 

Finally, to care for your church without wearing yourself out, it’s very important that you remember you’re not building your own kingdom. This is God’s kingdom, and you are only a steward over the lives and resources He’s given you. As a steward, you need to develop a few character traits so that you will keep things straight and not wear yourself out.

First, you must reserve honor for Jesus. You’re going to wear yourself out, Pastor, if you’re making all the hospital calls and so on. Not only that, but you’re robbing other leaders of the privilege of fulfilling their ministry by taking those opportunities. You’re limiting the church and its growth when you’re so busy doing everything you’re not able to get ready for Sunday service. You don’t have to do everything. It’s not your show, not your kingdom. Raise up a team. Yes, there’s a need. Commission someone else to meet the need. I think some of us just want to feel important, to feel special, to feel like people approve of us. We want people to know we love them too, and so doing ministry requires a delicate balance. But if you don’t get it right, you will wear yourself out while trying to care for the church. 

Remember: Jesus is the big deal here. He’s the One who gets all the honor. We’re just His spiritual farmhands. That’s so critical, knowing we’re building His kingdom. We’re building the kingdom of God. 

Second, you must be flexible. Being too rigid is out of place in Christ’s kingdom. I think very often we can get so set in our pattern, our group, or our denomination that we think just of that. We need to think beyond our church to the body of Christ. You say, “That sounds like more responsibility.” No, it’s freeing. It helps It gives me joy and energy when I think beyond just me to what God is doing around me and what I get to participate in here, overseas, and with other friends in ministry. That doesn’t wear me out; it feeds my soul and my spirit because I can rejoice beyond what I’m doing. 

Learn to bridge out even to people who may be a little bit different. I’m not talking about people who have wrong theology and are in sin, but there are some good churches and people maybe just a few miles down the road or in a neighboring city that you can join in fellowship with. Maybe they use a different translation of the Bible. It’s okay! Don’t be so rigid you think you’re right and others are wrong. It’s not so. Do they love Jesus? If they do, you need to learn from them. Have they been to the foot of the cross and wept before the Lord and seen their sins forgiven? If they have, you can be in fellowship with them. We’re brothers serving the same King. Jesus cares for them, so be flexible. If you care for the church as a whole and not just your church, you’ll have more energy, more strength. You’ll realize God’s doing a lot!  

As you broaden your relationships, you’ll see you’re learning something from them and hopefully they’re learning something from you too! When you bridge and develop friendships with others who are in the same calling as you, you will have renewed energy and strength, you won’t be bogged down, you’ll see other people’s needs and other churches’ needs, and it will rejuvenate you. 

Third, you must promote others. How important this is! It doesn’t wear me out thinking of others and promoting them. It makes me happy! It brings joy! If there’s anything in me whatsoever and someone can squeeze me and get something that helps their life and ministry, I go, “Yes, Lord!” I feel like I’ve had a home run. It just blesses me. Let’s cooperate with others. Let’s cooperate and begin doing outreach with others. Maybe get people together for the National Day of Prayer or some crusade. Figure out a way to promote others: other pastors and other churches. Give the devil a black eye. I believe this is something that’s hindered multitudes of people from coming to Christ across our land because they see the division between denominations and churches. If people can see us preferring one another and working together, they’re going to say, “Wow! Maybe there truly is something to this Christianity,” and they’re going to want what we have. 

Finally, you must be heavenly minded. What does this have to do with not wearing yourself out? Well, when you keep your eyes on the prize and what is coming… Oh my goodness! Heaven is going to be awesome! I think if we could just glimpse it, we’d all go jump off a bridge right now. It’s going to be great, and it’s going to be people from every tribe, tongue, and nation. There’s no Baptist Boulevard or Methodist Manner or Charismatic Hallelujah Acres in Heaven. It’s not going to be like that. It’s just going to be people who have come to know the Lord through the efforts of godly men and women who gave of their lives, sacrificing around the world to populate Heaven and depopulate Hell. You need to keep that type of perspective!

Here at Significant Church, we’re just here to help. There’s no other agenda but for you to be better in what you do, Pastor. Let’s build God’s Kingdom together. Let’s hold each other accountable to learning not to wear ourselves out in ministry so we can cross the finish line together. 

If you’re getting tired, it’s time to renew your strength and realize this spiritual battle you’re facing. Don’t let it defeat you. We’re for you. Significant Church is for you. You can overcome anything!

I believe we’re going to see the greatest days ahead for the body of Christ. My prayer for you is that you would know who you are in Christ and be renewed day by day, that God would guarding your strength and energy and focus and balance so that you can be effective and minister well to your church and community. Maybe you never be worn out, never reactive, but walk in the spirit and be an example that causes people to say, “That pastor, that church is so vital to this community.” May you be loved and respected because of who you are and what you’re doing. God bless, Pastor!