Church Growth Isn’t Fun for a Pastor

I am struggling to get through the morning work routine. I am tired. In ministry preachers often refer to my feelings as the Monday morning hangover. I suffer not from the consumption of alcohol but from a full day of work and public speaking. Yesterday we held our usual worship program where I preached and led the Church in the worship of God. Then after our regular programs, our leadership participated in an 8-hour leadership meeting.

The meeting had been discussed for months and then planned for several weeks. I have read hundreds of pages and typed dozens of pages into my computer to share. Our plans for the past 18 months have been completed, and it is time to plan and prepare for the future.

You need to understand that God has been blessing our Church through the addition of numerous families and individuals. Almost every Sunday we see new faces, and they are happy to be here with us. It is a great time in the life of our Church as we are experiencing numeric growth through the blessing of God.

I suppose that most people would consider this to be a pastor’s dream come true. Church growth means that my ministry is successful. I will receive the admiration of colleagues and the accolades of other Churches. You would think that I would be overjoyed at our growth and in part, you would be correct. You would also be correct in saying that I am tired. Church growth isn’t fun for a pastor.

Growth means more meetings. Yesterday was a great example. Our leadership needed to talk and not have strict time constraints. I have a great leadership. There are no power struggles or harsh arguments. The time is usually productive and worth the investment. But with growth, there are more meetings than ever.

Growth means more work. I am busy planning, preparing and praying for the future. A days work used to take seven and a half hours each day. Slowly I have noticed my days adding an hour or two. Nine hours days are the average day at a minimum. More people means more to do for the kingdom of God. It is a blessing and a curse.

Growth means more responsibility. I feel greater burden with every new face I see. I desperately want to reach each one of the with the message of Jesus. The responsibility God has given me is ever-increasing, and so is the need for his help. I find myself praying more and more, and when I have a spare minute, I feel like I should be reading and growing personally. Church growth means that I have been faithful with a few things and now I pray I am faithful with more.

Growth means more temptation. Any success can be greeted with pride and arrogance. There is a temptation to puff out my chest and say, “Look what I have done.” That is usually accompanied by shame and guilt. Those unchecked can lead to other temptations knocking on the door. I firmly believe evil does not want to see any work of God succeed and it will do anything to stop it.

Seeing our Church grow is a wonderful experience. I am not complaining in any way. But if you think the pastor of a growing Church is full of pride and self-satisfaction you are wrong. We are tired, scared and are continually throwing ourselves on the grace of God. What God has called me too is not easy, but it is the most rewarding exhaustion I have ever felt. Thank God for the growth. It is great to be a part of something God is doing.

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