One of the privileges that I have, as a Conference Superintendent, is to make quarterly phone calls to the pastors in the Pacific Conference. It’s a time for me to catch up with their ministry and spend time praying together. Each time I try to focus on some area to talk about. This winter I’m talking to our pastors about caring. To use “caring and pastoring” in the same sentence may be obvious and even redundant, but sometimes it is easy to get in the routine of ministry and grow numb to the real needs of others.
Remember that old saying, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” It’s true! So pastors (and church leaders), here are three areas that we need to care for! If we don’t do these, we really don’t care.
1. Care for your own family. Our ministry begins in our homes. I’ve been guilty of putting the demands of the church ahead of my family. Don’t do it. Your family needs you. Take your days off. Go to your kids’ events. Love your wife. Don’t feel guilty if you fall short of people’s expectations in order to spend time with your family.
2. Care for your church family. Usually caring for needs of others comes naturally for pastors. After all, we are in ministry because we love people. However, to truly care for others, you must encourage them to mature in their faith and become less dependent on you. This involves discipleship and accountability. Don’t fall short here. Caring is not doing and being everything for others. Challenge your congregation to become co-workers, not consumers.
3. Care for your community. I’m talking about the people outside the church. Get out of your office and into the community. Walk around. Get to know your neighbors around the church and your home. Go to the local coffee shop. Get involved in community activities. Become friends with people who don’t have a relationship with Christ. Be a light for others.
BEFORE YOU GO…
One more thing. This year the theme for our Pacific Conference is “951.” What is that? Well, as a Denomination, we have embraced a movement called “951.” That number is actually a paragraph number in our Discipline (Constitution). The gist of it is that we are called to be people of the “good news.” As pastors, we need to lead the way in leading people to Jesus and seeking holiness in every part of our lives. After all, that’s what caring is all about, isn’t it?