I rather enjoyed the exercise - so much that I'd encourage you to come up with a Top 8 as well - or 5, or 10, or 20. What things matter most to you? What guiding principles define how you live your life? Share in the comments section below if you like.
Anyway, I now present to you...
MY PASTOR TOP EIGHT
1. Call me Steve. Some churches instinctively use more formal titles to address their pastors. Often it is simply out of respect, but it can inadvertently create a sense of distance. I am happy and content with all members - children, youth and adults - calling me by my first name. After all, we’re in this together!
2. My door is always open, literally and figuratively. You may have noticed that I moved my desk into the larger room of the pastor’s study. This way I am more accessible. If the door is closed - a rare occurrence - it probably means I’m on a phone call or in a private meeting. Other than that, you are welcome to drop in and say hi. I always encourage folks to call the church in advance before coming by to see me specifically - that way I can make sure to be available to you (and you can always sign up with Becky for one of the Thursday morning coffees).
3. My calling to be a good husband and good father is as important to me as my calling to be a good pastor. Incidentally, this does not mean that serving you is any less of a priority - in fact, I’ve found that, by always striving to honor my family relationship and responsibilities, I’m a much better pastor to and with you.
4. I will make mistakes. As I do, I hope you will let me know so I can keep from making it again. No one likes to admit they make mistakes. But I can promise you that at some point, I will. I’m also pretty sure that, at some time, I will do something that may upset you. By coming to me and letting me know personally, you give me a tremendous gift: an opportunity to grow as a pastor and to build a stronger relationship with you.
5. We’re a team! If you haven’t noticed already, my leadership style with staff and the session centers around a team approach that is founded in mutual trust and respect, and keeping open lines of communication. My experience is that a church functions at a much higher level, and lives into its vision more efficiently, when this is the case.
6. The church is not here to meet people's needs, the church is here to meet God's needs. I once read about a minister who would share this at the beginning of their church’s new member class. It caught people off-guard at first, but eventually they came to see the truth in it. I believe churches that understand the heart of this put themselves in a much better position to grow and thrive. The great thing? When we focus on meeting God’s needs first - in the church, community and world - we find our own needs are met as well!
7. I believe we in the church are called to respond to God's amazing grace and love in three ways:
- Giving our TIME (being present in the body of Christ)
- Giving our TALENT (putting our individual, unique gifts in practice for the church’s ministry)
- Giving our TREASURE (our financial response)
8. Love will guide the way. The guiding force in everything I do as your pastor - preaching, teaching, pastoral care, staff empowerment, church visioning - will always be centered in the love of Jesus and sharing and fostering that love. If I err, I will always do my best to err on the side of love.