The modern model of the office of a pastor seems to be that of a spiritual executive. The vision is of a man sitting in his office, reading reports, conducting meetings, and issuing instructions. It is true that if we are to “look well to the state of our flock,” inspection and direction are necessary. But the Bible model is one of service. The word minister literally means “servant.” The larger and more complex our ministries become, the easier it is to do more “executing” and less serving. How can we keep it personal? Here are a few thoughts:
1. Be Available
Speak to your people before and after the services. Recently after I had preached at a church, and stayed after some time speaking individually to those in attendance, a man who had been observing me called me aside. He complimented me for looking directly at the people to whom I was speaking. He went on to say that someone had once said to him, “I don’t really think my pastor cares about me. Every time I talk to him, he is looking over my shoulder.” The man then said, “Thank you for not looking over their shoulders.”
2. Send Personal Notes
These may include thank you notes, birthday cards, or simply a spontaneous expression of gratitude for the service and character of one of your members.
3. Give Gifts
Each year at Christmas, I purchase gifts to give to our staff and deacons. On other occasions, the Holy Spirit will prompt me to give money to someone in need or to give a helpful book or encouraging music CD. Be alert to these opportunities to show love.
4. Notice Children
Be especially attentive to children. I try to learn the names of and speak to the young children in our church. Sometimes I will “make friends” with them by giving them some change from my pocket. On other occasions I will put a little red light behind my ear and ask them if they think my ear looks “inflamed.” I want to give attention to “the least of these.”
5. Be Humble
Be willing to do the mundane. I recently drove a bus on Saturday to pick up some of our children. I took the time to get my CDL so I could be an example to others we were trying to recruit as drivers, to be an encouragement to our current bus workers, and to help on those rare occasions when we run our buses on Saturday. I certainly do not feel this or any other job is “beneath me.”