#1 – How’s My Walk With God?
There is a danger in what a pastor does…and I have seen too many pastors get so focused on growing the church that they neglect seeking Jesus.
When I am asked about how I prepare messages I often talk about “the overflow.” The majority of what I teach at NewSpring comes straight out of what God teaches me. And I have learned that if God isn’t doing something fresh in the pastor—then He probably isn’t doing anything fresh in the church either.
My #1 responsibility in life is to seek Jesus…to read His word, to pay attention to His Holy Spirit…and none of this happens without me making time…and guarding it with pit bull intensity.
ALSO…I am WAY over my head. As I often say…this is the largest church I have ever attended and the only church I have ever been the pastor of…and I am desperate for God’s wisdom because I do not want to screw this thing up!!! I have found that in my times with God that He rebukes, encourages and directs me. I NEED THIS.
#2 – How’s My Family?
I recently read in the April 9th issue of Time magazine that 80% of pastors wives said that they wish their husbands would choose another profession! DANG!!!
One of the realities that a pastor must face is that the church is the only mistress that he can commit adultery with and not be looked down upon. The church will cheer the hard working pastor, the one who is at every meeting and does it all…and then that same church will throw stones at the one they hailed as a hero when his marriage falls apart OR his kids become hellions.
Pastors, you are the ONLY ONE who can love YOUR wife like CHRIST loves church!!! AND you are the one GOD has called to raise your kids.
I once heard a pastor say that his calling is the ministry…and that God will supernaturally make up the lack of time that he cannot spend with his wife and kids…and I seriously wanted to punch this guy…in the throat!!! This is NOTHING more that a man who is so caught up in needing to feel needed that he REFUSES to embrace Biblical responsibility.
I often ask Lucretia, “Do you feel like you are getting my leftovers.” AND…she is VERY honest with me. There are times when I am encouraged by her response…and then there are times I am challenged to make some changes.
#3 – Am I Taking Risks?
Pastors, we are NOT called to play it safe! One of the things we are called to do is ADVANCE God’s kingdom…and that means we will always be heading into unknown territory.
Two weeks ago our senior management team had a meeting in which we began to discuss what we think NewSpring will look like in 2010. This was one of the most exciting and frightening meetings I have ever been in. We have some HUGE dreams…but in order for them to be accomplished it is going to take us making some DIVES of faith.
Do not be deceived…do not think that the larger the church gets that the easier it is to take risks. From a human point of view—there is much more to lose when you get larger; however, from the God point of view…we have nothing to lose…we said it was all God in the beginning…and guess what—IT STILL IS!
Besides…the people we admire in the Bible…Jesus, Paul, Abraham, Moses…ALL of Hebrews 11…ALL of them were risk takers.
#4 – Am I Letting Anyone (or Anything) Rob Me Of My Joy?
The Bible says in Nehemiah 8:10 that the joy of the Lord is our strength…so many of us pastors lack strength NOT because God isn’t good—but because we have allowed circumstances or people to rob us of our joy.
I am in the process of learning how to deal with this because up until about a month ago I was GUILTY. However, I have taken some steps recently that have set me free in this area.
Pastors, we OFTEN let critics drive us…and we will have hundreds and thousands who love us…three who hate us…and we will yell at the ones who love us because of the ones who hate us. I know…I did it!!!
Please remember something that Craig Groeschel told me, “Perry—the NORMAL people are not thinking about you.” THAT comment rocked me…normal people do not have attack blogs that do nothing except for spew venom in the name of Jesus. Normal people who did not attend your church do not care what songs you sang this past Sunday. Normal people who do not attend your church do not care what you wear.
AND…normal people are not obsessed with every point in your message on Monday…they are more concerned with getting the kids ready for school and getting themselves ready for work. SO…stop letting the weirdoes with a blog and an anonymous e-mail account control you!!!
#5 – Am I Faithful?
I am discovering more and more than I have one goal in life—to stand before God one day and be found faithful. To have loved one woman all my life…faithful. To have taught my children how to fear Him…faithful. AND…to have led NewSpring the way He led me to lead it.
I will not stand before God and answer, “Were you traditional or contemporary, emergent or emerging, missional or attractional?” I personally think that God could care less about the STUPID labels that we desire to place on everyone and everything.
The question that we must ask as a pastor is, “Am I being completely faithful to who God has called me to be and what He has called me to do?”
This means that we need to learn all we can from everyone—but try to imitate no one because, if we merely imitate then we can NOT be doing what God wants.
There are some questions I often ask myself…they keep me on track…hope they helped.