I schedule regular lunch meetings with people in my church. Why? Because relationships matter. I’ve met too many pastors and small group leaders who neglect relationships and this is just plain tragic. It’s interesting to me that our goal is to lead people to become like Christ, but our own leadership styles are often not like Jesus’ style. To Christ, there was no greater result than making people know they are loved.
I once had lunch with a man who had been a church member for over 9 years. He told me, “You’re the first pastor I’ve had lunch with since I’ve been a part of our church.” That astonished me. I asked if he felt personally connected to any of his previous pastors and he reluctantly said, “No”.
Another time the pastor I worked for criticized me for “Spending 400% more on lunch with volunteers than anyone else on our team.” The amount I spent that year was under $130 per month and my average lunch cost was under $26 per meal which paid for my meal AND the volunteer’s. I was being criticized for taking 5 volunteers out to lunch per month?!?!?!? In my disgust I replied, “If that’s the case, then I’ve been a 400% more effective leader than anyone else on our team this year.”
One of a leader’s most precious commodities is time. When a leader spends time on those they lead they are trading in a a valuable commodity (time) for the one thing that is MORE valuable: people! Jesus didn’t give his life for budgets or for schedules. He died for people.
This is why one of my core values is and will always be People. People matter most to Jesus so they should matter most to me. Christ took time to sit with kids, prostitutes, tax collectors and his disciples. If I am to be more like Jesus I have to spend more time with people, not less.
By the way, I can hardly wait for my next lunch appointment.