Last week I had the privilege of spending some time with my mentor and friend Ralph Moore. Among other things, Ralph is known for his church planting multiplication efforts by starting more than 2,300 churches. Geesh…how do you even think about doing that!
During his visit, I asked Ralph to speak to our pastors and leaders at our local Liberty Church Network center. Somewhere in the middle of this event, the conversation went sideways…on purpose.
I asked Ralph a simple question, “If you were the pastor of a church with 50 – 150 weekly attendees, and you are constantly worrying about making budget and getting people to show up, what would you do?” Weird question, right?
The reason I asked the question is that this is the reality of most pastors in the United States. These are pastors who are doing a wonderful job, yet struggle with a failure mentality because they will never reach that magic number of success that seems to be so prevalently promoted among evangelical church leaders.
Ralph’s answer to the question was a surprise…even to me. Without hesitation, Ralph said, “Pastor, you should go get a career!” He was not saying that the pastor should leave his or her church. He was also not saying that the pastor should go get a job. He was saying that pastors should strongly consider becoming a freelance pastor. Get a career, and pastor your church without getting paid to pastor.
More shocking was the response from several of the pastors in the room. One started to weep. Another shared the fact that his sponsoring church that helped him to plant walked away from him when he did not hit the expected big numbers within 12 months, so he had to go get a job. These are people who will do anything to plant a church and reach more people for Christ, yet are rejected by their sponsoring organization for failing.
As I processed this moment, I realized that Ralph gave these pastors the best news they could ever receive. Instead of rejection, he was offering hope in a huge way!
I will post more about this in the future, but here are a couple random but important thoughts concerning Ralph’s statement:
- You will make more money – No, money is not everything, but it is rather important. And wouldn’t it be nice to take your spouse on a wonderful trip on your twenty-fifth anniversary and be able to pay for it?
- You will meet more people who need Jesus – that’s rather important!
- Your church will be blessed by the financial relief – that’s also rather important!
- You will gain respect from your church attendees – this is huge!
- There will be much more money available to your church for ministry – no comment needed!
- You will be prepared to face the financial tsunami that is coming – Presently in the US, 80% of church giving comes from people who are age 65 and older. How will any church survive that issue? YOUR CHURCH WILL!