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A Pastor Should Make Goals for Growth
In your office, study and make plans for your church. Write down goals you want the church to accomplish and set up timetables for the attainment of those goals. If you don't, you won't reach any goal at all!

If your church meets in a borrowed or rented building, set some sort of timetable for the purchase of property. If you don't, it will be too easy to stay in the same routine and just continue meeting in that hotel.

I can tell you a little secret: When your church meets in a hotel, your congregation will grow to a certain point. But then you're going to start losing people. Attendance will drop, and your congregation will have to start growing all over again.

You see, after a while people want a place they can identify as their own. I remember hearing about a little boy who was riding in the family car with his parents and a few of his friends. As they drove by the Holiday Inn, the little boy exclaimed, "There's my church!" But the other kids in the car started laughing at him and said, "You're crazy; that isn't your church. That's the Holiday Inn!"

Think about how that made the little boy feel. Well, it's the same way with adults. After a while they want a place they can identify as their place of worship.

One reason local churches are built is to give people a sense of belonging and identity. That's why it's important for you as the pastor to establish and to impart to your local body of believers realistic goals of growth you can all attain together.

A Pastor Should Minister Love to the People
Many pastors think that all it takes to be an effective pastor is the ability to preach a good sermon. But I've seen a lot of ministers who were not great sermonizers but who were effective as pastors.

You don't need to have great oratory skills to be an effective pastor, but you do need to know how to love the people in your church.

'When you love your people, they will love you -not because you're the greatest preacher in the world, but because you minister to them.

There's a big difference between ministering a sermon and ministering to people. Ministering to people is being there for them at 2 o'clock in the morning if they need you. Ministering to people is rejoicing with them in happy times and comforting them in their times of sorrow.

Some pastors have the mistaken idea that they're not supposed to sympathize with people in their times of sorrow. I get angry with ministers when they visit family members who just lost a loved one and begin to preach them a sermon. They tell the people that they shouldn't feel sorrowful because their loved one is better off in Heaven. If the loved one died in the Lord, it's true that he or she is better off. But a pastor should minister love to people who are bereaved, not preach them a sermon.

Ray McCauley, pastor of RHEMA Bible Church, South Africa, told me about a time he received a visit from neighbors whose little boy had just drowned in a swimming pool. This couple's little boy was about the same age as Ray's son.

Ray said that all he could think about was how he would feel if his own son had drowned. So Ray just put his arm around the father and said, "We're here, and we're praying for you. What can we do for you?" Later, that man said, "You gave me what I needed just by being there to support me."

So many times we try to make something hard out of something so easy. We think that when someone is bereaved, we've got to give them some kind of "spiritual" help. Most of the time, when people are in that type of situation, they're in such a state of shock, they don't even hear what you say to them. What helps them more than anything else is knowing someone is there with them.

In order to effectively minister to people who are hurting, regardless of their situation, you must show genuine love and concern for them in their time of difficulty. People respond to a kind word more quickly than they respond to a sermon.

Sometimes it's a great comfort to people just to know someone else cares. And many times, your genuine concern for people will open doors for you later to counsel them or minister to them more extensively.

Ministering to the needs of your people is one of the most vital aspects of effective pastoring. Your ability to relate to people and to minister to them is more important than your ability to preach and to teach.

Remember, no one can promise that if you follow 25 easy steps, you'll become an effective pastor. But if you'll stay people-minded and if you'll do what God has told you to do, success won't be far away.

The Pastor Should Know How To Manage People
It's also important for a pastor to know how to effectively manage the people in his church. I believe the pastor should have a major, instrumental part in the operation of a church. However, I do not believe in pastoral "dictatorship."

As a pastor, you manage the people in your church - you don't manipulate them. If you manipulate people, you'll eventually lose them. People only allow themselves to be manipulated for a short period of time. However, most people allow themselves to be lovingly managed forever.

Part of managing people is learning who the best leaders are in your church and delegating important responsibilities to those people. The Bible says, "...know them which labour among you...." (1 Thess. 5:12) Don't use someone in a leadership capacity who isn't leadership material.

When you first start out in the ministry, you may have to do most of the work yourself until you can determine who you can appoint to leadership positions. These leaders should be people who share the vision God has given you and who can help you carry out that vision.

When you first start a church, many who come to your services may be "problem" people who have already left several other churches in that city. Sooner or later these disgruntled people - habitual murmurers and complainers - will want to become leaders in your church.

If you allow them to become leaders, everything may run smoothly for a while. But when you begin to manage your church the way a pastor should manage it, these people will balk. They'll want things done their way. Then you might have a church split on your hands.

Some of these "problem" people can be salvaged to become productive workers in the ministry. But the majority of them will probably just leave your church and go to someone else's church. Often they'll continue to be murmurers and complainers for the rest of their lives.

So know those who labor among you, and know how to effectively manage people. If you don't know anything about managing people, I suggest you take some courses in management at a local college or university.

Managing people is an important aspect of effective pastoring, whether you pioneer a church or take over the pastorate of a church that already exists. If you take over the pastorate of an existing church, the best thing you can do is work with the already established program of that church until you "sell" yourself to the people.

Once you've earned the respect of the congregation and they believe in you, they'll follow you. Then you can begin to teach and train the people regarding the various changes you would like to make.

However, in some areas you won't be able to make drastic changes. When you're determining which areas can be changed and which cannot, be sure to look at both sides of the issue - the minister's side and the congregation's side.

Church Government
Take the subject of church government for an example. First, let me say, there is no such thing as the perfect church government. There is no clear-cut Bible pattern for church government - period! Many people read things into the Word of God and use scriptures to support their views on church government. But those scriptures don't necessarily mean what these people try to make them mean.

I don't entirely favor the independent form of church government, which gives the pastor total control of the operation of the church. In this type of church government, many so-called pastors who "answer only to God" have literally robbed their congregations.

In these cases, I don't blame people who have been cheated for wanting some say-so in church government. After all, many times these people are the ones who have had to payoff the pastor's personal debts after he left town. They are probably also the ones who have had to payoff church debts that were incurred because money was collected from God's people for one purpose, but was used for something else instead.

On the other hand, churches that have a congregational type of church government can also have their problems. I've seen pastors who were forced to live on next to nothing; at the same time, the people in the congregation who set the pastor's salary had everything they needed to live well.

There simply isn't any cut-and-dried Bible pattern for church government. Somewhere in the middle of the independent and congregational methods of church government is a happy medium that can be reached. For example, I believe there needs to be some kind of accountability on the pastor's part for church finances. Someone besides the pastor and his wife should have access to the church financial reports.

That kind of check-and-balance system makes sure the finances are kept in order. It also helps the people in your church feel comfortable about the way the finances are used. Finally, it protects the pastor from being accused of any wrongdoing in the area of church finances.

It doesn't matter who you are or how big your church is, no one has all the answers for a successful ministry. It's important that you have goals and plans, that you keep accurate records, and that you know how to work with people. But most of all, to be effective as a pastor, you must do what God has told you to do, and you must minister to the needs of your people!

(We are indebted to Robert C. Anderson's book, The Effective Pastor, for some of the concepts in this section.)

Source: The Pastoral Ministry by Kenneth Hagin, Jr.
Excerpt permission granted by Rhema Bible Church

Author Biography

Kenneth W. Hagin
Web site: Kenneth Hagin Ministries
Kenneth W. Hagin, President of Kenneth Hagin Ministries and pastor of RHEMA Bible Church, ministers around the world. Known for calling the Body of Christ to steadfast faith, he seizes every ministry opportunity to impart an attitude of “I cannot be defeated, and I will not quit.”

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