I hear a lot of misconceptions about pastors of fast-growing churches.
People who do not personally know these individuals often lazily and recklessly default to false statements that these are mend of greed, aloofness, only care about “putting on a show” or the classic “they water down the Gospel to get larger numbers.” Perhaps you have said some of these same things.
As a member of Injoy Stewardship Solutions, all I do is speak with pastors of fast-growing churches. By the time 2012 has concluded, I will have had more than 500 of these one-on-one conversations this year alone. It is a unique privilege and it has given me great insight into the mind and motives of these pastors.
Wisdom is in a person’s questions, not their answers.
Here is the question I use that gives me a picture into the heart and mind of these pastors. It is a question born out of complete fascination of how God uses these incredible leaders. I ask: “Pastor, you know the statistics. More than 80 percent of all churches are plateaued or declining. And yet, you’re growing at ____ percent. How are you doing it?”
Their answer is startling.
You would expect them to talk about their strategies, communicative abilities, leadership skills, education, background, experience or competencies. If this was your expectation, you would be wrong.
Easily, nine out of 10 say something very similar to this: “Brian, to be completely honest, I have no idea. We’re trying to serve people, tell them about Jesus, reach out into our community, but we often talk about in our staff meetings that we don’t know where all these people are coming from. It truly is all God and His goodness. We’re just trying not to mess it up.”
“I have no idea.”
I love that statement. That statement has completely framed how I feel about pastors of fast-growing churches.
I feel the large, vast majority of pastors of fast growing churches are:
- Incredibly humble.
- In awe of what God is doing.
- Men of prayer who deeply love God’s Word.
- Completely dependent upon God.
- Passionate about the community in which they live.
- Enjoy hanging out with unchurched people.
- Want the absolute best for their families.
- Wish to accomplish things in the context of community with their staff.
- Deeply desire friends who will love them unconditionally.
- Always look to get better and fulfill the plans God has for their life.
This list of 10 truths is not hyperbole. It is not polyanic thinking or idealism.
These truths come from thousands of conversations I have had with pastors. In my opinion, people who talk bad about these leaders simply do it out of jealousy and/or a defense mechanism to deflect from their own inadequacies. Their claims are simply untrue.
These men are worthy of respect. They are worthy of honor. They have given their lives to serve me and you.
Because of the way God has used these men, people have a hope and a future. Their lives have meaning. Marriages have been saved, addictions have been broken, relationships have been restored and the poor have had their needs met.
I deeply love and admire pastors of fast-growing churches. It is a privilege to serve them on a daily basis.