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Legacy Building and Pastors

by admin on May 22nd, 2010

I’ve been thinking lately about the trade-offs that we make in ministry for the sake of appearing more productive and successful. All too often, quantity takes precedence over quality, and in this highly competitive age the outward appearances of success that are calculated to enhance the reputation of the pastor often become of greater importance than the abiding consequences of his ministry. To put it another way, it’s so easy in this growth driven age to emphasize growing numbers over growing members. Take a moment and reread that last sentence, and ponder the subtle point.

If we understand that pastors have a primary ministry of equipping believers to become more wholly devoted followers of Christ, then the measure of any ministry is the maturity of the congregation. Or as a recent pastoral leader has said, “You measure a man’s ministry, not by how many people he stuffs in the building, not by how many people he reaches, but by how Christ-like his people are.” It’s as simple, and as challenging, as that.

As I have conversations with people who are looking for new senior leaders for their churches or enjoy dialog over coffee with pastors who are struggling with a sense of value in their current ministries, I become more convinced every day that this paradigm of impact is a very important thing to be clear on. Are shepherds responsible and successful only when they drive clear numerical results in their churches? Or are they most successful when the people God has placed within their ministry have become more deeply like Jesus Christ, be they large or small in number? I’d like to believe that Christ-likeness is the ultimate goal. And of course, Christ-likeness is a work that only the Spirit can do, using the supernatural impact of the Word of God brought to bear on lives by a godly and gifted individual.

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