Today I sent out an email to a group of pastors and friends who are part of a network that I host. It was a random email, but after I read it, I thought it might be worth posting in my blog. Feel free to share it with others.
Dear Pastors & Friends,
In my prayer time today, I was thinking about you, and praying for you. I am so thankful for each of you. In a short amount of time, God has put together an incredible network of pastors and leaders, and I am blown away by the friendships that have been formed and the vision that has come out of this group. I cannot begin to tell you what an encouragement you have been to me personally.
I want to share a thought with you…something that God has been orchestrating in my own life. Over the last year, we have been leading our church through the Book of Ephesians and specifically the teachings of Made For More from Exponential. But this has been more than a teaching. This book, penned by the Apostle Paul, has invaded my life. And there is one passage that seems to rise to the top for me.
Ephesians 5:15-17 “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”
My prayer for you is…that you are careful how you live and understand what the Lord wants from you. So I am going to put some random bullet point thoughts in this email for you. This is pastor stuff. These thoughts won’t all apply, but there might be one that you need to read.
- Don’t get caught up in the pastor mentality of Butts & Bucks as a measurement of your ministry. If you adopt that measurement, then you have to adopt the ministry structure that supports that measurement. When you do that, you miss the masterpiece mission (Eph. 2:10) that God has for you.
- You were never called to build a church! No matter what the seminars teach, building a church is not your job. It’s Jesus’ job, and you are a poor replacement for that work. You are called to serve the church, to invade darkness and to build the kingdom. Ask yourself this question, “What am I spending my time doing?” Don’t act thoughtlessly!!!
- Don’t imitate anyone but Jesus and a few spiritual fathers/mothers in your life. Imitating other pastors is fraudulent. You are a masterpiece mission. If the person God made you to be is hidden behind the mask of another, you will miss your destiny.
- Get outside the walls of your church! You were not supposed to build a fort. Please grasp the reality that most people who need Jesus will never come inside your fort…never! Read the gospels and the Book of Acts. Look at Jesus. Look at the New Testament church. Now look around at your office. Notice any differences?
- The church belongs in the middle of the marketplace. (I stole that from Mark Batterson’s message at our LCN event a couple years ago.
- Love sinners! You have a lot in common.
- Love sinners outside the church. I’m not talking about being nice in the grocery line. Build intense friendships with people who are not like you…people who probably hate your world. They will love you.
- Take fifty percent of your sermon prep time and invest that time to build friendships with people outside the church. No one remembers your sermons anyway, and they will appreciate the brevity on Sunday. The ROI of your work will double!
- Do not despise your size! I’ve discovered that a kingdom-focused leader and a kingdom-focused church is more like David and less like Goliath. The impact of the gospel is measured in eternity, not in the auditorium. God has specifically designed you for greatest kingdom impact…not biggest church attendance. Don’t miss this!
Okay, I’m done with the rants.
I love each of you,