I put on slacks, dressy black shoes, a shirt with more than three buttons, and drove to the interview for the Lead Pastor position at Redeemer Bible Church.
All of the guys doing the interviewing knew me. We team-planted the church together. But, rightfully so, they put me through the paces just like every other candidate—and I was the last guy on the list. After two years since the church’s first public meeting, it was in trouble. No elders, no membership, no structure, and in decline. It was more like a big Bible study on Sunday mornings than a church.
I sat there on the couch, nervous, unsure, and walking in faith in what God may have in store for me, 25 years old at the time, and this fledgling church.
One of the leaders asked me, “Do you really think you can lead this church?” I paused. Gathered my thoughts.
“No, I don’t. In fact, I know I can’t. But if the Holy Spirit moves, we will be more than fine. I don’t have the abilities and knack for this kinda thing, but if we trust Jesus, follow his word, I know we will be fine—we will be faithful, and that is successful.”
Seven years later. Nothing has changed—except for the name of the church.
Every Pastor Needs The Work of God
I still believe I’m not naturally equipped to lead our church. I haven’t acquired any new leadership abilities. I haven’t developed the human entrepreneurial instincts. I haven’t become a catalytic leader. That’s all balderdash. I must rely on a work of God more than anything I’ve read in a leadership book or heard at a conference.
What’s happened in our church, and in me, is a work of grace. I’m more aware of my weaknesses and more aware of God’s strengths. I’ve learned more from the Bible. I’ve discovered more about my union with Christ. In other words, I’ve progressed in sanctification—this makes for good leadership.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:12–16 ESV)
Every Pastor Needs The Other Pastors
I still believe I’m not supposed to lead our church…by myself. God has given our church a plurality of leadership. Six elders lead our church. I’m one voice of six. I’m one leader of six. I’m grateful for the other five men who lead and shepherd the body, right beside me. I’m not above them. They aren’t below me. We are side by side, leading and shepherding our local church.
I can’t lead this church without the work of God. I’m not meant to. Praise God for his grace.
I can’t lead this church by myself. I’m not meant to. Praise God for the elders.