church leadership

How an introvert can be a leader and pastor...

Photo Credit: Vo Minh Thong via Unsplash  

I really love people.

I do.

It's just I'd rather be alone. Not always, but some of the time, not even most of the time—just some.

I know. Some people will wonder, and I have been asked, "How can I be a pastor and an introvert."

I've asked myself this question. Ministry is about people. It's relational and intimate. It requires me to be around people and to invest in them one on one and communally.

Some people think the best lead pastors are extroverted and too the extreme degree.

I don't know. Maybe, but maybe not. I think it takes a plurality of leaders and personality types to lead and shepherd the church.

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I think many of us are realizing the formula we think it takes to lead a healthy church, notice I didn't say successful church, is not necessarily the best for what God has designed for His church.

This blog post isn't about what personality type makes a better lead pastor or even about the best formula—it's really about how me, being an introvert and pastor, can be the leader and pastor God has called me to be.

For me, I need some alone time and I need some people time.

I need people time so I can be filled with love and encouragement. This comes with being around people. And I also need to be the one who does the filling as well.

I also need quiet and alone time.

It is very beneficial for me to have moments where I can decompress and meditate on the conversations and interactions I've had with people.

For me to be a whole person, I need both spaces and environments. It's not an either/or, it's a both/and. If you were to ask me which I prefer, I'd tell you it depends on the day and circumstance. Although I do prefer more alone time than I do people time.

 

The thing is I need both. And I desire both.

And this realization is freeing. It has allowed me to be who I am as a leader and pastor—when this happens it creates a healthy environment for the church I lead and pastor.

 

http://youtu.be/rUaj7rj6MI8

RSA Shorts – The Power of Quiet

Great video on extroverts, introverts, leadership, teamwork, and collaboration.

Dad, I want to be a Pastor...

998854_10151788772289801_845024673_n-1 Something really cool happened after church this past Sunday. My son and I started having a conversation on what it means to be a pastor.

My son is a senior in high school and wants to follow in my foot steps and attend Ozark Christian College (My alma mater), and go into full-time ministry.

We talked about what the calling of a pastor means. We talked about how some of the things to remember is that ministry is about people. Programming and stage decorations and paint have their place, ministry is always about people.

And specifically the job of a pastor is to guide people back to the heart of God, and help them see grace operating in their lives. 

As he and I journey this year together and as he moves closer to graduation and Bible College, I will teach him some of the most important things about what it means to be a pastor.

Here are some of the things I will share with him...

The biggest thing to remember is that a pastor is a servant to the people of God, and an under-shepherd to the Chief Shepherd, Jesus. Pastors must always remember that Jesus is the Pastor of the church and we are blessed to be a part of of his bride. Jesus leads his church through us not the other way around.

He will learn that no one makes you be a pastor, but you willingly submit yourself to the authority and calling of the Holy Spirit in your life. Being a Pastor is rewarding and burdensome at the same time.

I will share with him what Eugene Peterson suggests the three things a Pastor should focus on: 1. Pray 2. Preach the gospel 3. Listen

pastor2I tell him that being a Pastor immediately puts you in the position of a servant. That as a pastor we seek to be last and the servant of all (Jesus - Mark 9:35). It is caring and leading people through servant-leadership. As pastors, we are shepherds of God people and it can be messy and difficult at times.

I can't wait to have more conversations with him about what it means to be a pastor. We have only a short time before he graduates high school and heads off to Bible college...

For now I have him reading this passage and journaling his thoughts on it.

"Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that will never fade away. " - 1 Peter 5:2-4

Should Age Be A Factor in Who A Church Hirers As It's Leader?

ImageI want to throw out a discussion starter. One I think needs to be addressed if the church is going to continue to follow and go where God already is and where He is moving too...

A friend posed this question:

"Why is the church so concerned with the age of leaders these days?" via Craig Wilson

I must admit that I am a little biased when it comes to this question - .I am forty and have felt this issue personally at some levels...  Even though I am only forty, in the ministry world that I just left (youth ministry), forty is kind of old... I MUST SAY I am thankful that the church I am on staff at did NOT factor my age as an issue in leading the youth ministry.

(You can read about my transition out of that ministry position in a blog post I wrote back in April - Here: Ministry Transition...)

While there were moments when I felt the sting of my age in youth ministry, all in all, I was encouraged by many who told me that the things I did well in ministry were a reflection on my years and experience in youth ministry. I served in that area of ministry for eighteen years...

However, I did see some of my friends get passed up for ministry opportunities in youth, worship, and lead pastor ministry positions for younger and less experienced candidates - one friend was even told that it was because of his age, and he was only forty-two years old... I have also heard stories where ministry candidates as old as thirty-three were told to "young-up" if they wanted to be looked at for ministry opportunities...

(Only in the church-world can people be told they are to old to be hired and the hiring churches not get a lawsuit filed against them)

ImageFor churches that overlook or pass on older pastoral candidates it seems to be that there are two main factors... Money and Image.

You can hirer quality young candidates for less money than you could with a more mature/older candidate who have older and more advanced in age families. New hirer costs are big factors for a lot of churches, especially if the trends are accurate about giving being down in American churches as found in a 2012 survey done by the rocket company.

So the bottom line is that money for some churches is a big influencer on who they can hirer. The issue of money affects all sizes of churches, small church, medium church, large church, and mega-church.

We live a youth culture dominated society. If you don't believe me just look around you. We can see this in marketing, television, movies, politics, world issues (Arab Spring was driven by youth movements), teen parenting styles (Focus on being the teen's friend), and etc... Which brings me to the issue of image.

Many churches today are trying to reach a younger crowd and they feel they need someone who can relate and connect with the 20 to 30 something age group. They want their pastor to be look and be relevant to the younger generation.

For many churches it is an image-thing. I don't mean this is in a flippant or shallow tone, I really do believe there are some churches that believe that the young can only reach the young... And in some ways they are right.

In youth ministry, there were times when a younger youth coach (volunteer) could move deeper into a conversation with a student, because the student felt the younger adult could relate better... Just to serve as one example where youth can be affective in reaching other youth.

Of course there is the negative side to this. There is a recent trend in churches where the focus or desire is to entertain church goers and make church more like an event than the gathering of God's people. this could be the effects of an Attractional/Event-driven style of youth ministry that has permeated our young Christian youth for the last 20 years...

Most young guys would pick Jessica Alba any day over Cate Blanchett, which I think shows their lack of wisdom (Can you say Galadriel). Or better yet, most young people would rather see One Direction live than the current version Aerosmith live... These might not be the best examples, but you get the point of what I mean with these examples...

Let me say that I DO NOT believe older people have the corner market godly wisdom. The Holy Spirit can and does use people of all ages in great ways to bring about kingdom advancement and gospel preaching, look at a young King David, King Josiah, Mary (Jesus' mother), and some of the Apostles like John. All of these people were young and inexperienced in life, but yet they had the godly wisdom to make the right decisions.

At the same time, we can see examples in scripture like Abraham, Moses, Proverbs, some of Paul's writings address the issue of age when it comes to wisdom, leadership, and examples to follow for young people.

BUT do I believe the church has a fascination with image. And if we aren't careful it can lead to unwanted results within the church long-term... You can read more of my thoughts in a previous post here: Image is Everything

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The church-world isn't the only sector dealing with the issue of age and leadership. Even in the non-religious world is dealing with the age of it's leaders, and it seems to boil down to money and image.

A few things to chew on...

  • Is it wise to have young adults lead young adults in the matters of spirituality, parenting, job related issues, money issues, relationship issues, and life in general?
  • Does innovation come from young minds or well traveled and experienced minds?
  • Why does it seem that some of the best led churches are by people in their 40's, 50's, and 60's? Mars Hill (Mark Driscoll), Central Christian Church, Las Vegas (Jud Wilhite), Saddleback Church (Rick Warren), North Point Community Church (Andy Stanley), and North Point Christian Church (Mike Farra)...
  • What does the Holy Spirit, the Bible, and the community of believers say about the issue of age and church leadership?

 

What are your thoughts? Should age be a factor in who a church hirers as it's leader?