The Importance and Difficulty of Pastoral Leadership

Dec.2Many parts of a pastor’s life are difficult.

You can imagine what many of those difficulties are, but the most difficult and demanding is leading. Years ago Leith Anderson wrote about the three toughest jobs in America: the president of a major university (especially one with a major football program :), an administrator of a hospital, and the pastor of a large, growing church.

What do they have in common? They all have diverse constituencies. Leading a diverse group of people demands tremendous leadership skills.

Leading a church calls for a different skill set than leading other institutions.

How can the pastor lead and what must he do?

First, the pastor must lead from a position of integrity, honesty, and love for the church and those who make up the church. Unless the pastor leads in this way, his leadership will ultimately fail or fail to live up to its potential.

Second, the pastor must lead the people to see the future. Most people join a church because they “like” what the church is doing. Sometimes, the new people become the most obstinate about change. After all, they have finally found a church they like and now the pastor and the church leaders want to change it!

This, of course, puts the pastor in a tenuous position. How do you communicate that future which God desires? The “P’s” are important here. He must “Pray,” “Persist,” and be “Patient.” The pastor has to trust God. If it’s God’s future, God will provide what is needed as it is needed.

It’s easy to get frustrated and run ahead of God. The pastor must depend on God in the same way he asks for the people to depend on God.

Third, the pastor must not let the church bog down or get satisfied. I find this to be the most difficult part of church leadership. Because it’s church, we have our comfort zones. We simply don’t want to get out of those zones.

Seth Godin wrote about the Kodak Corporation. For years they were an institution in America. Everyone, it seemed, used Kodak film and thought highly of the company.

Godin shares how Kodak spent years denying, ignoring, and evading digital photography. Their profits were fine and everything seemed wonderful. Then, the reality of digital photography set in.

Tony Morgan says this same thing can happen to churches. “Great organizations make changes when there isn’t yet an emergency.” Pastors are appointed of God to “lead” the church to fulfill its mission and God’s vision.

Would you pray for your pastor today and his heavy responsibility and calling?

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One Comment

  1. Sherri
    Dec 03, 2015

    FBC is blessed to have just this type of pastor in you, Waylon. I thank God for you and our pastoral team daily and keep each of you in daily prayer.

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About Waylon

I am the senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Covington, Louisiana, a position that I have held since 1989.

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For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. — Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)