Two Observations About Pastors
Tony Cooke

Pastors are continually asking, “What are you seeing among pastors and churches as you travel across the country?” It’s a great question, and I’d like to focus on two specific observations we see in pastors on a consistent basis.

Pastors Desire Greater Results
We consistently see a yearning in pastors for greater results. Every pastor wishes there were more people in attendance. If they have 50 people, they want 100. If they have 500, they want 1,000. If they have 5,000, they want 10,000. In addition to the desire for greater quantity, every pastor desires greater quality in the spiritual lives of their people. They want the people to be more responsive to the Word, to the influence of the Spirit, and they want to see people more involved serving in the local church. In one sense, this lack of satisfaction is good. After all, if a pastor is pleased with the status quo, there would be no motivation, no pressing in, and no “reaching forth.” On the other hand, pastors must be on guard against the discouragement that can be brought on by the accuser of the brethren. The enemy seems to thrive on beating up pastors over what’s not happening and continually reminding the pastor of every flaw and shortcoming (“After all, if you were only a better leader…”). Pastors often get so focused on the negative that they are not able to enjoy what God has done and is doing through them and in their churches. In short, we need to enjoy the journey.

Pastors Exhibit Outstanding Diversity
A second observation that stands out is the amazing diversity of gifts and assignments that God has given to different pastors. No two pastors are alike—each one is unique and has emphases that vary. These differences reflect what Paul said in Galatians 2:8-9 (NLT): “For the same God who worked through Peter for the benefit of the Jews worked through me for the benefit of the Gentiles. In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church, recognized the gift God had given me, and they accepted Barnabas and me as their co-workers. They encouraged us to keep preaching to the Gentiles, while they continued their work with the Jews.” Sometimes when ministers have a unique emphasis, they feel that their calling is higher than someone else’s, and they develop an attitude of superiority. Others see a different calling, anointing, or assignment on other ministers, and they begin to feel inferior. God didn’t call us to have an attitude of superiority or inferiority; He simply called us to be faithful to our own assignment. We should be able to see what others are doing in the Body of Christ with an attitude of appreciation, without feeling threatened by their work or feeling we need to duplicate what they are doing. At the same time, we can and should learn from how God has led others, and be inspired by their ministries.