10 Things Healthy Churches Do Well

4. The leadership initiates the action by asking lay leaders to handle it.

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The twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said… ‘Seek out from among you seven men….’”

The head does not handle all the body’s problems itself. It sends instructions to other parts of the body to deal with it.

The preachers do not have to handle every issue themselves. In an unhealthy church, they may have to. “That’s what we pay them for,” I can hear someone saying.” No sir. You do not.

Some ministers are unable to turn loose of jobs and feel their authority is being undercut if they ask someone else to do anything. This is not authority, but a sickness. God does not send His pastoral-servants to do everything themselves, but to assist others in developing their spiritual gifts, fulfilling their calling, finding their place of service. Problems that arise can provide ideal opportunities for such ministry.

A friend said he always loved it when the pastor would say, “Tom, such-and-such has arisen and we need to jump on this. Can you get with the teachers in that department and deal with this?” Absolutely. He’s trusting me, said Tom. The preacher is doing what he should do–delegating the responsibility to the right person.

Tom says later it was fun to write the pastor a report on what was done and how the problem was resolved.

5. The pastoral leadership stays with its divinely-given priorities.

It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables…. We will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.

In a healthy body, the head does not stop its activity of receiving information from everything around, from thinking and studying, of learning and analyzing, in order to pull another part of the body out of trouble. It stays with its priorities. After all, some other part of the body–an arm, a hand, fingers–is better equipped for rescue work than the head.

One reason so many pastors meet themselves coming and going is that they have misplaced their priorities. They end up printing the bulletin, contacting nursery workers, and filling in for absent teachers. And we wonder why they burn out.

Now, a pastor is not “The Head” of the church. Jesus is that. The minister is divinely sent as the “Overseer” (Greek, episcopoi) of the church, according to Acts 20:28.

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