Without knowing it, most pastors today are harming thousands of people while trying to save one person. You ask, “How so?” Well, one of the main problems with pastoral leadership today is most pastors are plagued with so much mercy and grace that they spend untold hours trying to save a person. Usually this person is either (1) a staff person who is well loved but totally ineffective, or (b) a dysfunctional member of the church who constantly causes disruptive hell.
In both cases, such graceful action may or may not save the ineffective or dysfunctional person but it always results in less fruit for the Kingdom. Ineffective staff causes the Kingdom and the local church not only to fail to reach new people, but also to lose members who are looking for a leader. Dysfunctional, disruptive people cause healthy people either to leave the church or to not return after their first visit.
The problem here is that too many pastors are more like counselors than transformers. They focus more on getting along than on rocking someone’s boat. In other words, they see pastoral care to be the main thing about ministry. As long as this is the primary emphasis of a pastor, then thousands will go unchanged while a handful of ineffective and/or dysfunctional people continue to get their spiritual diapers changed.
What is needed today are pastors whose primary task in life is bringing in the Kingdom by focusing on the transformation of people and society. In other words, the primary need today is leaders who think like missionaries with the apostolic gift of transformation. These kind of pastors have no time to waste on ineffective and dysfunctional staff or members. Instead they show these people the door. In the final analysis, that is the ultimate gift of mercy for both the congregation and the Kingdom. It makes no sense wasting tons of hours trying to save one while thousands pass by our churches every day untouched by the gospel.
Question: How would you suggest pastors make the switch from caring for one ineffective person to shepherding a congregation of hundreds? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.