There are countless things faster than helping people follow Jesus.
- Watching paint dry
- Waiting for water to boil
Since a pastor is a chief disciple-maker, we know firsthand how slow it is to help people follow Jesus.
It’s absolutely NOT like a business. The CEO of a business spends 40+ hours a week with employees of the company and has great authority to back up his goals and vision. A pastor spends approximately 1 hour per week with the flock, and with those that doze off during a particularly long hour, you can’t even count that one! 🙂 That doesn’t mention the reality that it is rare for a church member to actually attend Sunday services weekly.
Since the amount of time I have with people is so limited, I’m learning two things:
- Perseverance is one of the most important traits needed in helping people follow Jesus. Kevin DeYoung once called it faithful, consistent plodding. Another lesson to prepare. Another sermon to write. Another visit to make. Another idea to brainstorm. Another text to send. Another cup of coffee to drink. Another conversation to have. Another encouraging word to share. Keep going.
- Investing in and equipping leaders must be a priority. There is only one of me (thank God). It is not my job to take care of the body of Christ. It’s the body’s job to take care of the body of Christ. What is my job? To help the body care for itself (and make disciples!). Ephesians 4:12 is what it’s about. Equipping the Saints to do the work of the ministry. I have some work to do in this area!
Every pastor knows we don’t do this for visible fruit in the moment. Sometimes what we think is fruit isn’t really fruit, and sometimes what we think is someone being angry at us during a sermon is someone God is dealing with in very deep ways. So join me persevering and investing in leaders. It is slow work, but it is eternal work. Remember the parable of the seed growing secretly. One day, when the Kingdom is fully revealed, everyone will see how all-encompassing the kingdom is that we are building with the Spirit’s help. Right now, it’s just under the soil. So we sweat and strain, and we plod.