God wants you be prosperous in your ministry. This is God’s will and design for all His people, but especially pastors.
3 John 2 – “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospers.”
John 15:16 – “You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain.”
Joshua 1:8 – “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Psalm 1:2-3 – “But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.”
James 1:25 – “But whoso looks into the perfect law of liberty, and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in he does.”
Hopefully, as pastors and preachers of the Word, you will be men of the Word. This should be true in your sermon preparation, preaching, and personal life.
Tips for Purposeful, Practical, and Prosperous Pastoring
- Set office hours. You must set regular office hours so your people can know where and when they can reach you. If you do this your people will be less likely to bother you at home. Our home should be a place of sanctuary and not a place where we are constantly getting phone calls and having people stopping by.
Our church ministry and activities should have specific days and scheduling. Just because you set your own hours doesn’t mean you can go into the office whenever you choose. You must set specific times to be in your office. Someone might think, “What I am I going to do in the office all those hours?” You might think about praying, read your Bible, and maybe even open a commentary or theology book now and then. As overseer of a ministerial fellowship, my mentor, Dr. Paul E. Paino, used to say, “I trust our people aren’t lazy.” We must not be lazy as pastors and ministers of the gospel.
Hebrews 6:11-12 – “And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”
Romans 12:11 – “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord.”
- Develop visitation programs:
- Hospital visitation. When making hospital visits, don’t stay too long, interrupt doctors meeting with the patient, or family members. Make your visits brief and to the point. Inquire how the patient is, share a Bible verse, pray and leave. Do Not try and make a diagnosis of their illness.
- Jail visitation. There are usually specific and best times to go to jails and visit. Talk to the sheriff or jail commander to inquire as to when’s the best time(s) for you to go. There will always be special times when there are exceptions to this, as with everything you must have some flexibility.
- Home visitation. This should usually be prearranged, especially with new comers to the church. There are always rare exceptions to this, such as where you think there may be real problems, you are familiar with the person and you really need to go unannounced for observation as to the severity of their situation.
Home visits likewise should be somewhat brief and conducted professionally. Like hospital visits, staying focused, to the point, see how they’re doing, share scripture, pray and leave. If there’s a need for counseling, pray with them concerning the issue and set up a time when they can come by the church office and meet with you.
- Develop contacts outside the church. It’s wise to be familiar with those outside the church. Set up meetings or luncheons with leaders in the community such as the mayor, sheriff, Chamber of Commerce and other community leaders. Express to them that you know how important and difficult their job can be and ask them if there’s is anything you can do to be of assistance to them and help make their job easier. Let them know you are committed to praying for them.
- Invite guest ministries into the church. People need a break from just listening to you. It is also good for your people to receive something fresh. Only bring in people who are supportive of your ministry and will do nothing to undermine you. Guest ministries will bring attention to your church. People in the community will notice that something always seems to be happening there.
Bring in diverse guests and genres. In the past I’ve used teaching and preaching ministries, testimonials, and music groups. People have different tastes. Be sure they are all of the highest quality. This can promote growth in your church, as long as those you invite in are of the highest caliber.
- Use media outlets. Most communities have newspapers, radio, and television stations that will give you free public service announcements or news releases. Come up with something every week to advertise. For certain occasions and events, some may even set up an interview with you, especially if you’re a new church plant. Also utilize social media sites, online business directories, etc. as much as possible.
- Develop leadership. Developing leadership is imperative to church growth. In 2 Timothy 2:2 Paul said, “Theses things entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” Raise up those who are capable of taking over in your absence. Be sure they will be faithful/loyal to you and your ministry (Luke 16:12). Not every ministry is able to hire an associate pastor. Discipleship is imperative to productive and prosperous pastoring.
- Restructure the church regularly. Great praying and great preaching alone won’t build great churches. Proper structure is imperative. God can and may bring revival and an influx of new people into the church but if you don’t structure your church accordingly, you won’t be able to maintain the growth God brings your way.
- Pray. Pray for God to give you vision and direction as to His plan for you and the church He has called you to (Proverbs 29:18 and Habakkuk 2:2-3). As with the previous point, also pray as to how He might call you to structure and restructure the church as you grow.
- Plan. This goes along with prayer, structure, vision and leadership. Much of your time in the office and prayer should be devoted to planning. Good planning is paramount to any successful ministry. Have planning sessions with your leadership in your leadership training and in your regular leadership meetings. Successful pastors are always about the business of planning.
- Preach. This is the culmination and high light of what you have been doing, preparing for and leading up to all week. Don’t simply throw something together last minute. Proper preparation is a must. Most people won’t know about the hard work and prayer you’ve put into your pastoring throughout the week. They will only see what happens during regular service times. Putting powerful preaching into your pastoring is a must.
We live in a day in which growth and pleasing people is the primary focus. All many are concerned with today is getting the right ambiance, setting the right mood, and assuring everyone is comfortable. We all desire our churches to grow but growth at what cost? The Word of God must have preeminence.
Paul told Timothy, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:13).
Reading has to do with the public reading of scripture (explaining and applying the Word), exhortation has to do with preaching, and then the teaching of doctrine. To leave out any of these three is to fail your people. In time past this was easily accomplished in three services a week. However, Many churches today only have the Sunday morning service which can make this task increasingly difficult.
The teaching of doctrine is imperative! Without this your people will be easily led astray. I suggest, for those who have limited time, interject doctrine into your Sunday morning sermons as much as you possibly can. In most passages you preach from, there are treasures of doctrine to instruct your people in the fundamentals of the faith. Use every opportunity you have to “speak things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).
I am conviced there are still people who are hungry for the Word of God. If we will set God’s Word as a priority people will come. There are those who have a legitimate thirst for a move of the Holy Spirit. If we will earnestly seek the face of God and faithfully teach the Word of God will prosper your pastoring.
Prayer: Lord, I ask You to give Your men and women courage to remain steadfast in the preaching and teaching of Your Word. Give them insight and understanding into Your will for their pastoring, while aslo showing them practical things to produce growth in their churches. In Jesus’ name, amen!