“Let’s get behind the pastor.” Pastors are not perfect but most have a calling and a desire to lead their church to fulfill the Great Commission. When pastor and members are working together, the church can and will impact their community and the world for Christ. Pastor and church members, like wings on an airplane or wheels on a bicycle, are both needed to accomplish the church’s mission easily, efficiently, and effectively.
Leadership requires followers who will execute the mission, strategy, and plans of the organization.
Pastors and church members need to work together.
How can pastor and church members work together to foster the movement of God?
1.Pastors need to have the character, competence, and calling that others are willing to follow. A woman once said to her pastor, “Pastor, I would follow you on an assault on hell with water pistols.” That’s the kind of follower a pastor wants and needs. But it begins with the pastor being the kind of person that others want to follow. Interestingly, the greatest leaders are not the most charismatic; they simply have the conviction about where they are going and what they are doing. In the church, the pastor is easier to follow when he follows the Lord. The apostle Paul stated it precisely, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Cor. 11:1 NIV).
2. Leadership is important but without followers a leader is just a lone nut. Isn’t it interesting, however, that people are taught to lead well, but comparatively little affirmation or instruction equips the majority of us to follow well? Countless books can be found on leadership but few, if any, are on following. Our culture places a limited value on following and exhorts all people to become leaders. That’s ridiculous, not to mention highly ineffective. The old adage comes to mind, “Too many chiefs and not enough Indians.” We celebrate the great leaders, but dismiss the many loyal followers. To succeed as a church, pastors must teach their followers not only how to lead, but just as importantly, how to follow.
3. Good followers make leaders great. A comedian once said, “Good children make great parents.” I would paraphrase that statement for this context to say, “Good followers make great leaders.” In other words, many a business’ employees have made a CEO look good; many a team has made a coach better than he is; and, many a church has been gifted with talented and motivated members that have made the church be effective, sometimes in spite of the pastor.
4. It’s not about the Pastor (leader) or the church members (the followers), but the mission (God’s kingdom). The sooner pastor and members set aside personal agendas and personal preferences and get on board with the movement of God, the more effective the church will be. The problem today is that we want to make the church about us. The church is not about the Pastor. The church is not about the members. The church is about extending God’s mission in the world.
So remember leadership is important but it’s not everything. Churches need Pastors and members to embody and deploy God’s message into the world. May pastors and members come together in harmony to show the world God’s love and communicate Jesus’ message of hope and redemption. The eternity of people’s souls hangs in the balance.