“Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest” (Joshua 1:9, KJV).
It is sad that, among our ranks, some brethren have a tendency to look down on, even look over, the small-church pastor. In Christian circles, much emphasis is placed on the amount of the salary, how many members, and how the church building looks. But let each pastor be convinced in his or her own heart concerning the leadership of the Holy Spirit.
We see today the mega church, and to be honest, I believe the mega-church pastor can only be accessible to a limited number of parishioners. How much pastoral ministry could one give to one thousand or ten thousand or twenty-five thousand or larger? How can one have time for so many sheep? Additionally, with such a large church, it would be very easy to be overwhelmed with the responsibility of so many congregants. God is very much concerned about the leader as well as the congregants; his or her well-being is paramount. Reflect on this passage from Exodus 18:17–27 (KJV) to see how God sends advisors to correct and guide us when we are overburdened as leaders, just as he once did for Moses:
And Moses’ father in law said unto him, The thing that thou doest is not good. Thou wilt surely wear away, both thou, and this people that is with thee: for this thing is too heavy for thee; thou art not able to perform it thyself alone. Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: Be thou for the people to God-ward, that thou mayest bring the causes unto God: And thou shalt teach them ordinances and laws, and shalt shew them the way wherein they must walk, and the work that they must do. Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens: And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee. If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace. So Moses hearkened to the voice of his father in law, and did all that he had said. And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens. And they judged the people at all seasons: the hard causes they brought unto Moses, but every small matter they judged themselves. And Moses let his father in law depart; and he went his way into his own land.
The Lord never intended for one person to bear the load of ministry alone. God sees the whole picture, from beginning to end. He knows the stress and strain of our vocation and gives us wisdom and strength to serve him in an acceptable fashion. Ministries that are named after the individual can begin to glorify man and not the Father. I believe in church growth—but not at the expense of ministry to the souls of men. We must be careful in mega fellowships that we don’t throw out a blanket gospel to the multitudes in the hope that someone will catch it.
The remarkable thing about our Lord Jesus’s ministry is that he started with but twelve. But soon, others outside this inner circle began to hear and obey the truth and align themselves with God. Jesus did not complain about the numbers or the small following. Many times we are inundated with human parameters, making us afraid we will not measure up.
Friend, God has the final say-so. “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work” (John 4:34, KJV). So stand tall in God’s will and accomplish his work. Don’t misunderstand me: we are to follow earthly leadership and obey those who rule over us, but this obedience is not to supersede the direct guidance of God in our lives. In Hebrews 13:7 and 24, we are instructed to honor, respect, and obey those who have been charged with the task of properly guiding us or who have oversight of our ministries.
Isaiah the prophet had a divine appointment; the Lord spoke to him directly. Look at the Word: “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (6:8, KJV). God used this same scripture to call me. Isaiah was commissioned to preach until there was no one to preach to. He was promised no money, no large audience, and no fine edifice. He possessed only a desire to obey God and to do his will.
God is in the business of strengthening and leading an individual to carry out his perfect will.
God is in the business of strengthening and leading an individual to carry out his perfect will. We live in perilous times, and God wants to build his kingdom one lost soul at a time, if need be. Small-church pastor, don’t you know that God wouldn’t have called you, or placed you where you are, if you were not up to the challenge to pastor the few? It is a real challenge, but God has the power to use your strengths and abilities to build up the small, and the part of the body that has the least honor. “Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness” (1 Corinthians 12:22–23, KJV).
Moses had a small assignment that resulted in an entire people being delivered from bondage by the power of God. It started with simply being obedient to the word of the Lord and standing in the place where God put him. This obedience resulted in thousands being set free. Who knows how many will be set free through the ministry the Lord has placed in your care? Certainly God knows exactly how many will come to Christ through the Lord’s ministry in you.
Let’s take a look at Samuel the prophet, ordained of God to speak to Israel and anoint a future king. His task was a simple, small assignment that yielded large results. His ultimate assignment was to anoint one son of Jesse—David—to be king of Israel. Samuel waited on God, and God came through to bless many.
God desires to anoint the ministry he has given you. Be faithful to the Lord and to his call, and enjoy the journey. His blessings and strength can be yours for the asking on a daily basis. Be sure that you let nothing and no one distract you from your high position in Christ. Take godly pride in the confidence the Lord has placed in you, allowing you to occupy your prestigious position.
There is none like you, Pastor; you carry the divine torch in your small assignment. The Lord is on your side to strengthen you with heaven’s might. You are more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rise above everything that tries to diminish your work or your worth in ministry. Take heart because God does not look down on or over you. You are in his divine plan. May God continue to use you in his earthly kingdom. Only the things that are done for Christ will last, even the small things—even the littlest pulpits.