I haven’t been a lead pastor long, a few months actually, so all of my experiences are new. I fondly remember thinking of my workload at our previous church and casually thinking (and saying on occasion) “how can being a lead pastor be harder than this?”
Well it isn’t “harder” per se, but it is different. Different in that there is a weightiness to leading a church and being responsible for the spiritual direction of a hundred people. As I lead I am reflecting on things that I didn’t expect and I thought I could share them with you as they come up.
Here is the first one, I didn’t expect the weekly fear of failure. Now if you know me, I am a fairly confident guy, I don’t think many people would describe me as fearful but something strange has happened in the week in and out preparation of sermons that I didn’t expect: the fear that I would fail, that the sermon would fall flat.
I have to tell you, I am sure it has already happened, and while the congregation has been gracious, I am sure they are used to something more refined and perhaps better. After all I follow a pastor that has preached more than 3000 times, at least that is what he told me, and everyone loved his preaching. No pressure!
So usually by Thursday, I find myself wondering if this is the week that everyone will walk out! I imagine other pastors feel the same thing but it is new for me. So I go with what I know, preach Jesus and get out of the way.
Because the truth is, I will fail. I am just a punk proclaiming a king. I am far from perfect. But Jesus likes weak people. His power actually shows in our weakness. And God has been faithful to give me reminders of his grace when this fear pops up. My identity is secure, I am not justified by my ability to preach or pastor but rather I am motivated to preach and pastor by my justification in Christ.
I wonder where fear hits you? Is it in preaching, in being accepted, in succeeding in school or work? Maybe it hits closer to home in how your spouse will respond to you or if your kids will love you. No matter where you find the fear, know that you have a substitute that has conquered fear for you. Know that you are secure in Christ (as secure as he is).
Take this as a reminder, you are Christ’s and what you fear is nothing compared to his love for you and his grace upon grace for you. Live under that banner. I am reminding you because I will need to be reminded again soon.