Church Work is never ending. There’s always something that needs to get done.

  • The worship slides need to be updated
  • The trash needs to be emptied
  • The newsletter needs to be edited
  • The plumber needs to be called
  • The copier needs to be replaced (or updated or unjammed …)

In recent weeks, one pastor or another has given me one of these reasons for why they didn’t have time to get out of the office and do ministry that could grow their church.

One pastor I was speaking to went so far as to say, “You don’t understand. If I don’t do it, it won’t get done.”

My response?


It kinda put the conversation in that awkward place where the phone line kinda felt like it’d gone dead. I could almost hear the pastor’s mind saying, “But ministry has got to get done.”

Again, I’d say, “Exactly.” The reality is, most pastors spend far more time doing “Church Work” and far less time doing “Ministry.” In fact, most churches get stuck – and stay stuck – because there’s an expectation that the pastor will take care of almost anything that nobody else wants to do. I mean, that’s their job, right?

Don’t get me wrong, I get it. You’re busy. There’s always something that really does need to get done. But busy-ness is not a badge of honor in a declining church. Pastors are most often busy with non-essentials, no matter how “essential” those tasks may seem. (The question to ask is, “Will this task help grow my church?” If the answer is either “no” or you have to do a little tap dance to figure out how it does, then it’s a non-essential task – at least for you, pastor.)

It turns out that many pastors lean on the ever-so-slightly co-dependent side. Not only do we want everyone to like us, we feel responsible for the church and everything that goes on in the church. And if something isn’t getting done, then you naturally feel responsible for picking up the slack – whether it’s your slack to pick up or not.

So when I coach my clients to stop doing things that aren’t their job, the pushback is tremendous. “I can’t do that! If I don’t no one else will.”

Again … Exactly!

“But the newsletter …” Yep, if no one but the pastor is willing to edit it, then the congregation doesn’t really want, let alone need, a newsletter.

There is a lot of Church Work that really doesn’t need to get done (including most meetings). Over the years, when the churches we’ve worked with have made the painful decision that they’re going to do what it takes to grow, it’s amazing what happens when tasks that “no one will do” are left undone. Some of the tasks get picked up by one of those “no one’s who won’t do.” Some of the tasks get returned to whatever committee should have been doing them in the first place. And a whole lot of those tasks that are left undone actually stay undone – and the church is better off for it.

“But who’s going to call the plumber?” The property committee or trustees come to mind, if your church has them. If not, then it’s a board/council/vestry/session problem. Same for the copier, the trash, the slides, and all those other Pastor Fetch kinds of tasks. The one person who should not, ought now, must not do them is you, the pastor. At least, if the congregation has any commitment whatsoever to grow and reach their community for Jesus Christ.

Pastor, if you keep doing Church Work for the church, the church will never grow. @billtb Click To Tweet

Growing a church today isn’t a part-time kind of job. Virtually no one is pining away at home just wishing someone would invite them to church. Church growth is time intensive work that involves building relationships with people outside the church and outside the faith – and that kind of work takes time. Time that you’ll let get filled with church work if you’re not intentional about focusing on what’s really important.

Pastor, if you’re stuck doing Church Work we’ve to two things for you. Two tools you can use to break the Status Quo and give you the time you need to do ministry that matters.

First, grab the Pastor’s Get More Time Planner. The Planner is a micro-book that will walk you through the steps to get free from the tyranny of managing your church and managing your members. In 30 days or less, you’ll be saving 10 hours a week or more – time you can use to move your church from stuck to moving, from stop to grow.

It’s FREE. Download it Here.

Second, IF you already know you need more help than a workbook, even if it is a GREAT workbook, and IF you’re ready to pursue your ministry with abandon, then join me and a select few for the Growing Church Network. Get free from the tyranny of Pastor Fetch and get the training, support, and accountability you need to lead your congregation from stuck, status quo to sustainable growth.

Only a few pastors are selected into this program each year and if you’re interested, you can apply here and schedule a one-on-one strategic planning conversation. During that conversation we’ll help you identify your top priority for the next twelve months – and take a peek under the hood to figure out what’s keeping you from getting there. After that, if that’s been helpful, we’ll talk about a plan for reaching that goal.

To get started, click the button below and fill out the brief – but important – application form. Then let’s talk!