The contemporary trend of turning everything into a measurable metric and then turning that into a replicable system which heavily implies that guaranteed success will be experienced wherever it is repeated weighs heavily in a context like long-term pastoral ministry.
Murray Lean observes a crushing burden that can descend on pastoral life.
The rise of the church growth movement over the past 50 years has created expectations around ministry that have caused a greater level of anxiety for many people serving faithfully in pastoring-teaching-discipling roles in their churches. Of course, we all want to see our ministries flourishing and our people growing spiritually. And it’s wonderful when this happens.
Loving people and helping them grow spiritually in the messiness of life is not a precise process or a quantifiable metric. At its best, there is no greater joy. At its worst, it can be fraught with great frustration, disappointment, and a sense of failure. Yet that is the complex matrix of relationships into which we are called to serve in gospel ministry. And anyone who has been involved in this type of ministry for any length of time must, by God’s grace, come to terms with this roller-coaster.
He then offers some measured words of encouragment at Gospel Coalition Australia.
His commendations about staying in community with other pastors, celebrating growth wherever it happens, praying, and recognising the seasonal nature of ongoing pastoral ministry all ring true.