Photo by ©CreationSwap/Kevin Carden
By Tricia Brown, United Methodist Communications
Churches are made up of people, and — let's be honest — sometimes people can be hard to love. No one knows that better than pastors and other church leaders. So, how can you learn to love your church more? You may want to sit down. If you're reading this on your phone, you can lay down if you like. Take your time. All right. All set? Now take a nice big breath ... and exhale slowly. Get it all out ... and just ...
That's right. Now don't get the wrong idea. Your eyes are working just fine. You read that right. In fact,learning to be a quitter is essential for church growth. It seems easy, but ironically, quitting is quite the task. Changing your routine is tough and changing your mind can prove to be even harder.Learning to be a quitter is essential for church growth TWEET THIS
Here are a few of the things you should let go of when loving your church:
As pastors and leaders of the church, you probably spend more time there than anyone else. That doesn't mean you always want to be there. Sometimes you give your time begrudgingly. To love your church more, you may need to let go of your time. How can you do that?
Even pastors can fall victim to pride. You may believe that others' perceptions of your church directly reflects how they perceive you. To a certain extent, that is true. That's why you may take the faults and frustrations of your church personally. In order to love your church more, however, you need to let go of your pride.
Who will notice if you skip this week's post-church potluck? Why does it matter if you don't do nursing home visitation this week? You'll be there next week. We all know why it matters. Sometimes you can't avoid planning a last-minute sermon, but sermon preparation shouldn't always be left until Saturday night. It's natural to be inconsistent. It's human. Of course, it's OK to say no and delegate when it makes sense. Pastors have to take days off and plan for vacation to avoid burnout. But recruit backups and create a plan to prevent pastoral care breakdowns. Loving your church means letting go of inconsistencies so that you can avoid overlooking people in need. The more consistent you are, the more your congregation will learn to trust you and the God you serve.
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Even pastors and teachers have to be reminded occasionally that giving is important. Lead by example. Don't ask your congregation to do something you are not willing to do.
No one said loving your church would be easy, but it's definitely worth the effort. If you want to experience the blessings of a church overflowing with love, you must be willing to let go and to love.