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You Can't Lead From The Office

“The initial locus and primary focus of [pastors] work is in their offices. Time-management studies again and again have confirmed that pastors invest a large percentage of their time in their offices - in meetings, in doing administrative work, and in taking care of administrative details…Pastors continue to spend so much time their offices because it is a familiar and habitual behavior pattern that has been nurtured and reinforced for many, many years. And the foundation underlying that behavior pattern is an understanding of the nature of leadership that is no longer helpful.”

- Kennon Callahan, Effective Church Leadership

Pastor's can't lead from their office. Pastor's can't care for those in their church sitting in their office chair. Ministry happens outside the four walls of the church.

Ministry leadership and pastoral care happens in people's homes. It reminds me of how the Puritan pastors made it a regular practice to visit those in their homes to check on their member's spiritual condition. Certainly a pastor can't necessarily visit everyone's home if the church is of considerable size, but at minimum is the pastor in the homes of those who are in spiritual leadership within the church?

Ministry leadership and pastoral care happens in people's workplaces. I had read a tragic statistic that only 1% church members interviewed said that their pastor had visited them in their workplace. Given that people spend more than a third of they day at work, shouldn't pastors be finding ways to visit and connect with their members where they work?

When you have to do the admin stuff, do it in a public setting. Often I will bring my laptop and work at a neighborhood Starbucks- checking email and making calls. It provides me an opportunity to see people I know - often getting into many God ordained conversations..the kind that don't happen by scheduling an appointment. Of course there are going to be times when some work is going to have to happen hunkered down in an office with the door closed...especially if you can't afford having your work flow disrupted by continual interruptions.

(ht: Todd Hiestand for the quote)


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