Listen to the following advice:
Pastors must develop congregations that facilitate expository preaching at every level of parish life and ministry. They must engender support for this exegetical process in five different ways. First, they must develop the discipline of thorough study in their own libraries. Secondly, they must teach staff to complement their study schedules by taking up slack in other pastoral duties left by the preacher. Thirdly, they must train their secretaries and administrative personnel to aggressively protect their sermon preparation time. Fourthly, they must ensure that their families understand and accept that the preacher must complete his exegesis and expository preparations before any other priority in the weekly schedule is addressed. Finally, they must help the congregation grow to the point where they both expect and even demand solid exposition rooted in diligent study.
Michael F. Ross, Preaching for Revitalization (Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor: 2006), 213.
Some take the foolish notion that such advice is only for pastors of “big” churches, but not for pastors of “small” churches or church-planters. Rather, the “little guys” (a derogatory reference for pastors of small churches or church-planters) are told to learn about how to market their churches, learn the latest Madison Avenue church-growth program, etc. I even had a “church growth expert” tell me that the key to attract people is to have an attractive church website and to maintain it regularly. In fact, I was told by one guy that he would not visit our church because our website does not have all the bells and whistles. Frankly, if the criteria of choosing a church is based on how the website is laid out, he or she can go to another church.
I think that is why some pastors, especially, the ones who minister a small congregation or church-planters, feel tempted to please men. Perhaps that’s why they spend their precious time on trivial things. As a pastor of a church-plant, I wear many hats. I am the one who answer the phone, make bulletins, and do other administrative duties. I’m also in charge of recording, uploading my sermons, and maintaining our church’s website. Sometimes I do the music. Sometimes I run our church’s book-table. And it seems like there are constantly other things that compete for my time and attention. Honestly, I can’t wait until I become liberated from many of these duties. But at this time, this is my reality.
Thus, what keeps me sane is to always prioritize primary from secondary matters. In other words, I need to keep the main thing the main thing. My main thing is the ministry of the word and prayer. Everything else falls under secondary. One day I have to give an account, whether I was faithful in keeping the main thing the main thing, not whether or not the church’s website is well maintained.
Certainly, all pastors are for church-growth. If they are not, then they should not be a pastor. However, there is a difference between genuine and superficial growth. I must testify that those words of Ross are true if you’re seeking a genuine church growth. I just wish that more people would take heed to it, especially, the young guys in the ministry and/or church-planters.
Let us forsake focusing so much on trying to be so “culturally relevant” that we’re not biblically reverent. Our aim is to go downward to Scripture and go upward to the Savior. A genuine exaltation to God happens as a result of genuine exegesis of his word.