What makes a great pastor? The answer may surprise you.

What makes a great pastor? We might think of things like strong preaching, courageous leadership, compassionate presence, community involvement, and so on. But what if those measures are completely off base? What if the measure of a great pastor isn't even something the pastor does?


A comment by pastor Larry Osborne recently caught my attention:
... when I stand before God, the ultimate measure of my ministry and stewardship will not be found in how many people we jammed into our campuses on a weekend. It will be measured by what those people did once they left the building. (Foreword to Gaining by Losing by J. D. Greear)
Osborne is making that point that God will evaluate him not by the size of weekly attendance at his Sunday services but by how the people of the church act between Sundays. It's a key insight. But there's another point to be made here too:
A pastor is measured by what other people do.
There are two surprising implications. First, your pastor is measured by things mostly out of his/her control. He/she doesn't live with parishioners. He/she can't control their actions. Yet he/she is measured by their choices. That's the paradoxical nature of leadership.

This means the pastor can't take all the credit when parishioners are being disciples who bear incredible fruit. But neither can the pastor take all the blame (or sometimes much of the blame at all) if the people aren't living like disciples of Jesus between Sundays and aren't bearing fruit. The pastor operates at some distance from the people's daily lives.

Second, if you think your pastor could use a little improvement -- if you want your pastor to be a better pastor -- then be a better Christian. Between Sundays. When your pastor isn't around. If your spiritual life isn't measuring up, don't blame the pastor. Make the pastor better by seeking God with more of your heart. God says, "You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart" (Jer 29:13). God reveals himself to people who want him enough to figure out how to find him.

In order for your church to be all you want it to be, there must be a deal made between the pastor and the people. Both must do their part. If one party fails, the whole system breaks down. If both parties collaborate, the whole system hums like a sports car engine.

Today is one of those days between Sundays. What are you doing to make your pastor the greatest pastor to walk the earth?

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