Love your people and let your people know that you love them.
Work hard and let your people know that you work hard.
These were the words one of my mentors gave to me when I was starting out as a pastor.
These are principles that I have tried to live by.
As I have been doing this pastor thing for over 20 years now, these words have different meaning for me than they used to.
I used to think that what my mentor meant was that I was to "tell", "verbalize", and go out of my way to "show" these things. But I am now beginning to think that that's not what my mentor meant.
The way a wise pastor goes about demonstrating these things to their congregation is by being these things and not so much by telling these things.
A pastor loves God and let's people know that you love God by loving God. The pastor's life is all about being in love with God. And just as it is unmistakable to "see" someone in love, it is impossible to miss someone who is madly in love with God.
This is also true about loving people. People know when they are genuinely loved and cared for.
The area that has gone the most dramatic transformation is in my understanding of the last advice: Work hard and let your people know that you work hard.
I remember reading about pastoral giants who would wake up before the crack of dawn and who would stay late into the night and how their people would pass by the pastor's study see their pastor working hard by candle light. These writings would talk about how much their people were encouraged and strengthened by their pastor's hard work.
For a guy already with work-a-holic tendencies, that's all I needed to read.
That's the type of life I wanted to emulate.
A quadruple bypass, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and heart disease later, I see things differently.
It's not about how many hours. It's all about how effectively I work. You could be in the office 24/7 letting your health, family, and life go to pot and still not be very effective in the office.
The thing about church work is that it will always be there, no many how hours you put in.
An effective pastor/leader recognizes what he/she must get done and pours their energy and concentration on those things and gets them done as effectively as possible.
And a wise pastor knows when to call it a day and go home to be present with their family, tending to their physical and emotional health.
There will be a hundred voices clamoring for your time. But a wise pastor/leader learns to listen and obey the inner voice that tells him, "Go home."