Pastoring a Large Church

Pastor for God, not Numbers

You can’t always control how fast or slow your congregation grows. As a pastor, you have the unique responsibility of leading the people of God, but when numbers run high, you might have to adjust how you lead. Listen to Dr. Harry L. Reeder II, Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama, instruct pastors of large churches how to best lead their congregations. 

Harry told pastors to not lead with the goal of having a large church, but to serve God and any amount of people He provides.

What do you think of Harry’s initial advice to not lead to have a large church but to pastor for the Lord?
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Harry said pastors should strive to pastor a W.E.L.L. church, defined as having:

  • Worship
  • Evangelism
  • Love
  • Learning 

Do you agree with Harry that these are good indicators of church health? Why or why not?
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Which of the W.E.L.L. characteristics are strengths at your church? What areas need improvement?
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Harry offered three pieces of additional advice for pastors of large congregations. 

  1. Commit to the functional plurality of leadership.
  2. Have a ministry structure that promotes growth.
  3. Focus on prayer, the Word, sacrament, and training leaders.

Which of Harry’s suggestions stand out to you? Why? Are any of them already in place at your church? If so, which ones? Where do you see room to grow?
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What could you do this week to focus on prayer, Scripture, sacrament, or training leaders? What practical steps can you take moving forward as you pastor your church?
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No matter the size of your church, your responsibility is to obey God and serve your congregation through leadership. As you lead, depend on God for strength. Pray for your church in the next few minutes. Ask God to be your guide and to grant you wisdom. 

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