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Help your pastor succeed by doing what you enjoy

| by Bud Brown

Although few in number, certain privileges generally accompany gray hair. Among them, perhaps the most rewarding, is the occasional request for guidance submitted by a much younger colleague who supposes that wisdom makes room for itself by squeezing the melanin from senior hair follicles.

If a young pastor is willing to buy coffee, I'll gladly show my scars as they are generally the most reliable source of "earned" wisdom. If the company is receptive, I'll suggest the lessons each wound taught me.

This morning's encounter at the coffee shop led to an interesting discussion when I was asked, "What guidance do you have for a younger pastor?"

In retrospect I see that the smattering of wisdom may be useful to anyone who wants to help their pastor become a more effective leader.

Find your joy and serve there

"Identify what in ministry brings you true joy. When you find it and serve in that, you've hit the sweet spot. That is what God has wired you and gifted you to do."

Joy is listed second, immediately after love, in Paul's description of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). It seems logical to conclude that if a particular aspect of ministry (counseling, administration, planning, preaching, whatever...) delights us, this is evidence that we are in the Spirit, serving in the highest and best place that God has intended for us.

The same is true for those who serve voluntarily in the church. You will do your pastor a great service by relieving him of the need to continually motivate you. Riding herd on the volunteer staff is time consuming and energy draining. Those who bring their own motivation - because they are serving in ways that bring them joy - make the pastor's job a whole lot easier!

Acquire skills to improve your service

Professional sports teams know the importance of building next to their strengths. The team that has an All Pro running back will be sure to drafts guards and tackles who will help improve their running game.

Serving in our area of joy causes us to brush up against other aspects of our walk or our service that needs to be shored up. If you derive great joy from leading a team to solve difficult problems, chances are you fall down on the execution. If your heart is delighted leading people to faith in Jesus, you may not have the full measure of patience required to walk alongside new believers until they are self-sustaining saints.

If you work at developing additional, ancillary skills that help you expand the reach of your ministry, you will be even more effective in service. That will bless your pastor's heart by removing another plate from the pole; one less item to keep spinning!

  • If you are weak on administration, develop a few simple techniques that will help you stay on top of the details.
  • If you are strong on details, figure a way to keep your eye on the big picture
  • If you are task oriented and love checking items off a todo list, get some help developing your people skills
  • Be sure to share your joy with others - find like-minded people and share the ministry with them.

The pastor's duty

I know this probably sounds too simple: you help your pastor by finding what gives you joy, operating in that area and learn to become more effective at it.

But this is one of the most important things you can do to help your pastor and your church succeed.


Because your service and the fruit it produces is one of the pastor's most important concerns. Paul spells it out in Ephesians 4:11-16.

So I ask you, what brings you great joy in ministry?

Now, what are you going to do about that?

Bud Brown

An experienced ministry leader, writer and educator, Bud Brown is co-founder of Turnaround Pastors and co-author of the ground-breaking Pastor Unique: Becoming A Turnaround Leader. He is a change leader in many venues — small rural, upscale suburban and mega-sized churches. He brings special expertise to change leadership in the local church, mentoring pastors to become revitalization leaders, training churches how to find and recruit the best talent, and training leadership teams how to achieve their shared goals. Bud also trains pastors in conferences, workshops and coaching sessions. 

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Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
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