Pastoring is not leadership. You can be a pastor without being a leader.
It took me about 6 months into ministry to figure that out. Leaders help bring about change. My first change in ministry was to make a change in how youth ministry was being done. (Up until that time the first 6 months had been good. I was pastoring and made no changes. I thought I was doing great.) Then our volunteer youth leader, who did not like the change, called a Board member to complain about me and rallied up the rest of the youth group to resist the change. So I learned about implementing change, how to lead it, buy-in, resistance, perseverance and how complex it can be.
Over the years Jocelyn and I have led many through many changes, none so large as the relocation of Central Tabernacle to North Pointe’s present location. That’s a story in itself.
Change can humble leaders because we see how much we need the grace, patience and wisdom of the Lord to effect change.
I have also come to see that pastoring is most effective when it is combined with leadership. Leadership envisions a god-honouring future and the will and wisdom to create it. Leadership always challenges the status quo and that creates change and no one except a wet baby likes change. Church change can lead people to change churches. It can lead them to quit church altogether. That’s sad.
Leadership and change are synonymous. Leadership and humility are indispensible. Following leadership and change takes trust and humility.
North Pointe has been studying the book of 1 Peter. Chapter 5:1-3 is Peter’s counsel on leadership and relationship to leadership. Godly leaders never call for blind trust. Peter understood that. He knew believers trusted him and their local leaders.
He challenged pastors to be “shepherd” leaders and for the people they led to respond to leadership with humility. Humility is about knowing your role and willingly filling it with grace.
Humility serves leaders and those they lead, very well.