Do you know your place? Are you secure enough being what others may think of as miniscule?
Eph 4:10-13 (the Message)
He handed out gifts above and below, filled heaven with his gifts, filled earth with his gifts. He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christ’s followers in skilled servant work, working within Christ’s body, the church, until we’re all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God’s Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ.
While attending a conference, I had a very uncomfortable question asked of me in the presence of my pastor, a fellow elder from my church, another pastor, and an elder from his church. I have had this asked of me before, and I have always been equally uncomfortable with it:
“Are you going to pastor a church of your own?”
I never know how to properly answer this question, but now with all ears listening I had to come up with something fast. I responded a generic, “I don’t believe the time is now to pursue this, and I’m going nowhere unless this man (pointing at my pastor) says ‘go'” and the subject was then changed.
I know the gentleman who was asking meant well, but it revealed (to me) the mentality that is prevalent among the body that needs to be corrected.
This is why we have so many apostles, pastors, evangelists, prophets, and teachers who are ineffective in what they do – and are actually hurting more than they are helping. People called to these positions can be supportive of another ministry gift and be MORE effective than they are on their own. An evangelist can still be submitted to a local church without having his own name on his ministry. A prophet can prophesy under the covering of a local church. A pastor (shepherd) doesn’t have to be the guy in charge of the church. I could go on, but I think you know where I’m going.
There is a pastor that is known worldwide. Everyone would know who he is if I told you his name. He has a man serving as an elder in his church who has been faithfully serving next to him for 26 years. This elder could successfully pastor a church of 1,000 or larger with little effort. However, he refuses to do this because he is in his place. As a result of him being in his place, his pastor can preach world-wide, write books, raise up other ministers, and do all the things he does AND this church of almost 10,000 members is cared for. Although he gets little public credit here on earth for what success he brings to his pastor and church, he will see in Heaven how immeasurable the success his servant hood and obedience brought.
If you are serving in a position that God through His man has placed you into – it is a DEMOTION to do anything else. I know many pastors who were great youth leaders, but are horrible pastors. Not only are they horrible pastors, but the youth group they once led is in shambles being led now by people who had 1/4 the passion he had. If teenagers are souls, how can it be looked at as a lesser position in the overall scope of things just because you answer to a pastor? OH, maybe it’s because so many in ministry feel they are too spiritual to walk under authority?
We need to have it in our heads that it’s not important what title or position we hold. It’s most important that we are holding our posts in the place God has for us. My church and my pastor cannot be successful if I’m not in my place. This is how we have to think.
Ministry is not about you climbing the ladder of success – it’s about souls and equipping saints.