IDENTIFYING INGREDIENTS FOR GREAT PASTORING
By Ken Blue
Of course there are different definitions of what the word great means. Every man has his own idea, and he is somewhat confident he fits its definition. We are confident we know what a great church or ministry is and what it is not. But what is it?
I am not positive God is as concerned about our church and our ministry as we are. God is far more interested in the man than He is the ministry. He always works at making the man first. By man, I don’t mean your swagger, your truck, your bad manners, or your gun rack. We are hearing a lot today about “developing men,” when we haven’t the slightest clue what we are talking about. Regardless of what you think a pastor must be to “prove” his manhood, there are three things that are indispensable for one to be a good pastor.
The first, not the most important, is personality.
The American Heritage Dictionary says personality is, “The pattern of collective character, behavioral, temperamental, emotional, and mental traits of a person: Though their personalities differed, they got along as friends. Distinctive qualities of a person, especially those distinguishing personal characteristics that make one socially appealing”
One of the weaknesses of pastors is their failure to understand the importance of developing a personality that others can identify with. Every pastor would do well to read How To Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. I am aware that it will not be spiritual enough for some, but they don’t need it anyway.
A guitar has six strings. You must be able to work with all six of them if you hope to strike a chord. Some people can only pick one string and therefore can only relate to those who like that string. Broaden your personality as much as possible so you can identify and relate to as many people as possible. You must be able to adjust your personality to people in order to relate to them. The pastor with the greatest ability in this area will have the best opportunity to widen his ministry to others.
I’m sure you know good men who have the personally of a skunk or a porcupine. They have a stinking attitude and disposition. Also, they are always trying to stick it to someone.
The second necessary ingredient for a pastor is that of competence.
Competence is the ability to do the task at hand. A pastor must first know the Lord, and then he must know His Word. He must learn how to pastor from the best. Some men are great at soul winning. Learn all you can from them. Others are outstanding teachers. Find out what it is that makes people want to hear them. Competent pastors know how to plan, lead, organize, and control growing church ministries. Learn all you can about management and organization.
Competent pastors know how to plan, lead, organize, and control growing church ministries.
Again, you must learn these skills if you hope to move forward in the ministry. Competence can be learned. Look to those who are doing the best job in each phase of the ministry, and then learn all you can from them. Don’t be satisfied to just pick one string.
Finally, your most important quality is your character.
A former pastor of mine told me, “If you want your people to jump a foot, you must jump ten feet.” Another pastor said, “Don’t expect people to show up on work days, if you are there.” If a pastor asks his people to give money for a special project, he must be the first to give.
Discerning people can spot the blemishes in your character right away. One major sign of weak character is to excuse ones failures and blame someone else. I have heard preachers lie about matters, they thought were unimportant. I have watched them make themselves the hero of their sermons. Your mouth may be your greatest liability.
Personality, competence, and character are the three indispensable ingredients for the pastor. On the other hand, the following three habits guarantee your failure. One is the “I don’t care” habit. The second is the late habit. The third is the “I quit” habit. The first three will insure your success. The last three will insure your demise.
Personality, competence, and character are the three indispensable ingredients for the pastor.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.