Up until about 3 months ago, I pastored in a relatively small church. If you pastor in a small church, you know well that the pastor does a little bit of everything. You’re the web guy. The preacher. At times you’re the janitor. If someone gets sick, you’re the one that is expected to go for the visit. If someone needs a Bible study, the church members look to you. In one way or another you oversee lots of little things.
I used to think that being part of a larger church would require about the same amount of energy and time, and certainly not more. Now that I’m part of a larger church, I’m seeing that I was wrong. Before I share more, let me first delineate some things that I’m no longer doing:
1. I don’t regularly preach from the pulpit. Our senior pastor, Dwight Nelson, takes care of that.
2. I don’t have to worry about visitations and hospital visits. There’s a pastor that cover that.
3. I don’t oversee small groups. You guessed it, there’s a pastor for that.
4. I don’t plan and implement the worship services. There’s a worship pastor that covers that.
5. I don’t chair our staff or board meetings. Our senior pastor does that.
Right now you’re probably thinking that if you didn’t have to do all those things you’d be set and have a lot of time on your hands, but the reality is quite different.
Let me share some of the things that I do cover to give some perspective:
1. I lead a weekly community Bible study group.
2. I chair an evangelism council.
3. I’m part of a governing board for our church plant, Harbor of Hope.
4. I’m on a preaching schedule for dorm worships and our mid-week service (House of Prayer)
5. I could go on an on…
I’m overseeing our downlink of Prophecies Decoded, a satellite based prophecy series. In a small church this would be no big deal. I would make sure we had a few leaders on hand, we’d flip the switch, and begin the broadcast. Here, there are dozens of volunteers involved and we need more. We have row hosts, parking lot volunteers, children’s programs for kids 0-7, visitation teams, greeting teams, setup and ushering teams, as well as a team that prepares the materials for each night. In my 5.5 years pastoring in small churches, I did several evangelistic series. And even though I’m not even the speaker for Prophecies Decoded, this has been the most time intensive project that I’ve ever done.
So whereas I might not be overseeing a hundred little things, I’m always overseeing several large projects at the same time. These are projects that all have lots of moving parts, that involve many meetings, and a lot of organization. When you’re on a campus church, there’s always lots of little details associated with big projects.
So why do I share all this? To give some perspective. I love what I’m doing now. I also loved what I was doing before. But I think sometimes it’s easy to think that because someone is in a larger church that they’ve “made it” and have it easy. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s true, I don’t have to worry about someone calling me in the middle of the night because someone’s been in a car accident, but then again, I come in to the office around 8am and leave around 6:30pm.
Ministry is ministry and ministry keeps you busy no matter the size of the church or the number of staff.
I think that’s the bottom line.
[image by lost in pixels]