Our church has been without a senior pastor for almost two years now. Talking to some people who are not members at our church, you would think that it is miraculous that our congregation has not imploded. It seems that so much weight and responsibility is placed on the shoulders of one man, that if he were to be absent from the picture all the weight would fall on the ground.
It is, in a way, miraculous by the mere fact that God continues to not only sustains Third Avenue, but he also continues to build his church. People are continuing to visit our corporate gatherings as well as join. This is, indeed, amazing if you see this on the backdrop of modern-day church organization. We do not have saavy planning and strategizing. In fact, we are downright bad at that.
The reason I love my church has to do with the fact that the elders of 3ABC have taken the weight of the senior pastor and placed upon their already-burdened shoulders. None of our elders are employed on a regular basis by our congregation. But they have volunteered their time and energy to rotating the preaching schedule so that the congregation will be fed. Greg just finished up a series on Isaiah. Brad W is getting ready to start a series on Ecclesiastes. And, if the Lord wills and tarries, the next elder will take his turn at expositing the Word of God.
What it boils down to for me has to do with a right view of leadership in the church. We do not have a president or CEO or such that leads a huge corporation or program-laden ministry. The simple fact is that we have men who have sacrificed ease and time to make sure the Word of God does not fall but continues to spread and nourish.
I pray that other congregations would put more weight on the leaders of their congregations to truly shepherd the flock. That the senior pastor would not be seen as the owner of the church (“That’s Pastor Bob’s church.”). Instead, may a group of men shoulder the load and preach the Word.