Anything I can do, YOU can do better
Learning to empower leaders
When I was younger I thought pastors were some type of superheroes. Now that I am a pastor, I realize how human and limited pastors really are. I used to think that because pastors were trained in God’s Word, they should be able to do almost anything.
I don’t think I was the only one who thought this. Although the Bible says, “We all have different gifts” (Romans 12:6) for some reason, the church has acted as if pastors have all the gifts. In addition, it seems like pastors can encourage this mindset by controlling or micromanaging all the ministry in their church.
But Scripture shows that Jesus took a different approach. Jesus did not do ministry alone. Although God-in-the-flesh could do ministry better than anyone, he started his ministry by selecting 12 disciples. And he spent most of the time training those leaders by teaching, modeling and sending them out on mini-missions.
Then, the night before Jesus died he empowered his disciples with these words:
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these because I am going to the Father. (John 14:12)
What a startling statement! Jesus said these leaders would do greater things than the Son of God?! What does that mean? Well, obviously Jesus’ greatest work, the salvation of the world, was something that only he could do alone, without any help or work from anyone.
And yet, Jesus knew that his three-year ministry had its limits. As a human, he could only preach to a certain number of people, heal a certain number of people, and travel and reach a certain number of people.
So what did he do with his limited time? He trained a few leaders whose ministries would one day extend to the ends of the earth.
So yes, in a certain way, the disciples did greater things than Jesus. (Jesus’ words, not mine.)
Now if the perfect Son of God made such an outrageous statement, who am I to say anything different? Why would I think that I could do all ministry better than those in my church?
I believe God has given me a limited number of gifts. One of those gifts is to preach. Also, I believe I’m an ok teacher and counselor. But that is about it. That’s as far as my gifts go. So I need to continue to empower and “equip God’s people for works of service” (Ephesians 4:12) so that my limits don’t choke this church, and the body of Christ might be built up.
I’m trying to follow Jesus’ example. And I’m finding incredible value in spending more time with a few leaders, empowering them to use their gifts to the glory of God. As one pastor said, “You can have control or you can have growth, but you can’t have both.” Either I could try to do everything and control everything and we will continue to be limited, or I can guide and empower others and there is no limit to what the Lord might do through them.
As I watch our leaders taking on more ministry I’m convinced that most things I can do they can do better. I’ve told few leaders that if I lost my job as the pastor and I had to take over their role, I would NOT be able to do what they are doing.
I started to see this play out in our small group ministries. The leaders of our small groups practiced hospitality, listened, and loved people in the church better than I could. When someone went into the hospital it was the small group leaders who were the first ones to hold their hand and pray with them.
We have many gifted musicians who are leading by using their gifts to enhance our worship service.
Our leaders on our evangelism task force are acting on their own innovative ideas, reaching people that I could have never reached.
There are also so many people who are serving and leading behind the scenes. They are quietly making a difference as they use their gifts of teaching, serving, generosity, and words of encouragement.
May the good Lord bless them all!
So here’s what I’m trying to remember…
I’m a forgiven child of God, who is fully accepted because of the work of Jesus. Therefore my identity is not rooted in what I can do. I don’t need to give the facade that I’m a “superpastor”.
I can freely acknowledge my weaknesses and empower those who are more gifted than I to further the work of the church.
I know there is still so much talent and potential that could still be unleashed for the good of God’s kingdom! I’m hoping this blog might empower you to find your place in the body of Christ and use your gifts to further HIS mission.
Originally published at www.pastorbensadler.com on March 27, 2017.