As a pastor it can seem noble and even Biblical to try to be all things to all men. The apostle Paul even said as much in his letter to the church in Corinth.
“19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. 20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23
But what if the expectations we are placing on ourselves are becoming the source of our stress and anxiety? What if we were never meant to be all things to all men? What if we were just meant to be exactly who God made us to be?
Because let’s face it, none of us are Jesus. All of us are gifted yes, but we’re not great at everything. In order for our churches and us to be at our best, we need to operate within our gifts and realize our limitations.
Sam Chand in his book Leadership Pain does a great job of describing the four types of pastors. Take a look and see which one best describes you.
Entrepreneurs are incredible at casting vision and inspiring others to help accomplish that vision. They have no problem setting a course to achieve the seemingly impossible. They often accomplish greater things than anyone else, but many people will think they’re crazy.
Shepherds believe above all else God has called them to care for the hurting, reach the lost, and comfort the grieving. They are peacemakers, great counselors, and enjoy visiting the sick. Entrepreneurs get frustrated with them because they don’t seem to care as much about growth, and administrators get frustrated with them because they forget about important details.
All pastors teach the word of God, but some are especially gifted in this area. These pastors love to study the word of God and are able to uncover rich insights, creative illustrations, and applicable next steps for their listeners. These pastors are often able to draw large crowds, but they struggle providing clear direction for the future.
Administrators are excellent at creating plans, strategies, and systems that keep the church running. They have no problem delegating tasks and placing everyone in the right role. Administrators can drive entrepreneurs crazy because they insist on having everything in place before they begin a new initiative. Shepherds may assume that their concentration on systems misses the hearts of the people.
Where do you see yourself among these four? Being able to identify where you are most gifted is the first step, but equally important is identifying where you are weak. Once you’ve identified where you are weak, you can start taking steps to place gifted people in the areas of your weakness.
You were never meant to be all things to all people. Trying to will only lead to pain, frustration, and burnout. Operate within your gifts and place others around you to take care of the rest.
Written by Travis Stephens
I am a husband, father, and executive pastor of a small town church that went big. I have a passion for helping small town churches and pastors. So most of what I write about focuses on helping churches and ministry leaders take steps to grow themselves and the churches they serve. If you would like to know more about me please visit me at http://travisstephens.me