Reading articles about being a Pastor make me feel like a failure. Through the years, I have attended conferences, listen to tapes and CD’s, subscribed to magazines, purchased books and read hundreds of blog posts. There is no lack of information out there on how to be a good pastor or Church leader. My problem is that every time I get more information, I realize how incompetent I am as a leader.
Some people get up at 4:00 am in the morning and keep a disciplined schedule all day. Some people have goals about how many books they read, and they consume more than 50 books a year. Some people have detailed plans of how to connect with other people and network with leaders in both the community and the Church. These guys have excellent skills, and there is no doubt that God will grow their Church.
Me, on the other hand, I like to sleep in if possible. Some days I barely make it out the door on time. Personally, I would like to read more, but can’t seem to find the time. I want to connect, but find myself hiding in my office dreading the work of connecting with people. Most days I struggle between productive labor and a total lack of competence.
Before you make comments and send me notes, know that I am completely okay with this truth about myself. When I started into ministry, it really bothered me that I felt like a second-class pastor who would never get invited to headline a big conference one day. Then one day I read a passage of scripture that changed my life. The Apostle Paul is writing about his ministry and a struggle he had with a “thorn in the flesh.” There he writes;
2 Corinthians 12:9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. (10) That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (New International Version)
The Apostle Paul struggles with some issue, I am convinced it was a problem with his eyes, but that is another post. He struggles, and it left him feeling incompetent compared to other people. God then gives him a clear word, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” Paul realized that anything he accomplished in his life would not be because of his own power, but rather the power of God.
Each day I am learning that God uses me despite my weaknesses and my shortcomings. Anything good I accomplish in my life will not because I am something special but because I worship and serve an all-powerful God. I am incompetent and yet God chooses to use me every week.
I know a large group of believers who feel just like I do. They do not feel adequately prepared or gifted to handle what life is throwing at them. If that is you, I want you to know that God has the power to take our weakness and use it for his good. Availability is more important than ability.