You are a leader and you have limited time, so who do you talk with on Sunday morning?
How do you make that determination?
Do the people decide for you?
What are the priorities and real needs?
The idea is not so much about accessibility, but accessibility to who?
Accessibility is good, in fact, it’s important. However, if you as the pastor build a culture where you connect with everyone when your church is smaller, you may set yourself up for a problem when it’s larger.
The most common form of this practice is to stand at the door to greet everyone in a line as they leave. That is gracious, kind, and probably represents your heart as a good shepherd. But when you grow and it becomes impractical, or impossible to connect with everyone, you are forced to change your Sunday morning practices. That seems like a simple transition, but all too often a number of the people may think you no longer care about them, or at least no longer have time for people. Both of course are not true.
To get in front of this tension, and as one example of a good practice in general, prioritize the majority of your time for two groups of people:
- Those who are new to your church, including first time guests.
- Those who are hurting and need a brief prayer with you as their pastor.
Setting your priorities in this manner encompasses both evangelism (new people) and compassion (hurting people).
This approach requires you to communicate with your leaders and staff that this is not their primary time to connect with you. This is not a black and white rule. It’s a guideline to practice. Answering a quick question for a leader is obviously fine, but it’s not their time to hang out and have “church” conversations.
The big idea of this post is to communicate the importance of being purposeful about your time on Sunday. Make sure your leaders understand what you are doing and why. It’s important that your leaders, staff and “regular attenders” know you love them. And continue to invest time into leadership development!
As your church continues to grow, your practices may continue to change some. For example, in the multi-site model, Campus Pastors, rather than the Senior Pastor become the one accessible at each campus. The important question is: “Are you using your time wisely and connecting with the right people?”
Let me close with an important element … It’s good to pray throughout those precious few moments of margin you have with the people: “God, direct me to the people and conversations you want to happen and may they be about life change.”