LESSON 3 OF 40 – Guarding Your Pastor’s Soul
Senior pastor moral failures are devastating to churches. Wise boards invest time—up front—to ensure the pastor’s soul is not neglected.
THE BIG IDEA FROM THE BOOK: Lesson 3 is both a warning and an encouragement for boards to do their part in paving the way for healthy leadership that is characterized by humility, integrity, and purity. Boards must be willing to lean in rather than staying at arm’s length.
• External factors (health, vacation time, exercise, diet) are easier to discern than the spiritual walk or inner being of the pastor.
• It was powerful for me to read that “the lack of humility rates as the number one warning signal.” WOW! Pastors, we must regularly ask ourselves—are we in the ministry for ourselves or for Jesus Christ?
• It’s easier for pastors to be vulnerable about their own weaknesses when they know that the board has their backs. Boards do this by making Jesus the board’s priority—not controlling the leader as the priority.
MY COLOR COMMENTARY:
We are living in a day and time when pastors receive more criticism and also more applause than ever before. Preaching allows people to see pastors when they are at the top of their game each week. It hides the way they may speak to their spouse, or treat those outside of the church. And the more success or growth the organization or church experiences—the easier it is for pastors to start believing their own headlines. The board’s job is to hold high the value of humility.
It can be a fine line—because you will need to encourage the pastor’s good work while at the same time being mindful that the Lord is the One who is responsible for any “success.” While the board can’t ensure that the pastor’s behavior and attitude will always be “beyond reproach,” the board can look for warning signs and lovingly encourage changes early on.
Your role is to encourage healthy leadership and relationships, and to prevent a meltdown that will damage the pastor, the pastor’s family, and the bride of Christ. While the board can’t do everything, they can do something.
I’m grateful for a Chairman of the Board who meets with me monthly just to check in and see how things are going with my marriage, my kids, my health, and my schedule. A deep friendship has formed which allows us to have those conversations which go beneath the surface and beyond the affairs of the church.
THIS WEEK’S QUOTES & COMMENTARY BY DAVE STONE:
For the past 30 years, Dave Stone has been on staff and preaching at the Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Ky. Since 2006 he has served as the Senior Pastor, entrusted with both the joy and responsibility of preaching to over 25,000 each weekend. Dave and his wife, Beth, have three adult children and three grandchildren. Dave is a popular speaker for nonprofit fund raisers and President’s weekends. Besides his Savior and his family, one of the greatest blessings in his life is the godly Elder board at his church.
• Every month or so, have a board member lean in with the leader and ask where their greatest stress is—and then ask how the board could diminish that.
• Do something as a board that communicates your willingness to invest in the pastor’s marriage. (Ideas: something as simple as occasional gift cards to their favorite restaurant; or perhaps a conference budget that must be used every other year—for a retreat or conference that they will attend TOGETHER.)
• Visit the ECFA Knowledge Center and read and share the short chapter, “Lesson 3 – Guarding Your Pastor’s Soul."
On March 13, 2019, watch for the commentary by Bobby Schuller on Lesson 4, "What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Prepare your board now for the possibility of future accusations and investigations.”
BULK ORDERS: Click here. For more resources and to download the book's Table of Contents, visit the book's webpage.