Read 10 Stupid Things by Geoff Surratt

Pastoring a church is a lot like running any business. It’s all too easy to get caught up in the day to day details and lose sight of the big picture.

In any given week, I’m writing a sermon, preparing a Bible study lesson, planning Sunday’s worship, going to meetings, resolving disputes, calling and visiting sick people, and generally maintaining an open-door policy to whoever needs to be listened to, and I love it all. That’s not to mention the hours I spend on the Net, some productive, some not so much. And before I carve out time to do any of those things, I’m working full time to be a good husband and father.

By the time church ends on Sunday afternoon, it’s time to start doing it all again in preparation for the next week. I know that I miss a lot with my nose to the grindstone. In order to be effective, sometimes you have to step back from what you’re doing and look at what’s really going on.

That’s why I enjoyed this book, “Ten Stupid Things That Keep Churches From Growing: How Leaders Can Overcome Costly Mistakes.” It was pretty funny and practical. If the advice in the book could be boiled down to one sentence, it might be, “don’t try to do it all yourself.” It takes a good deal of humility for me to accept that, but it is great advice.

For example, the author’s pastor’s job description is simple: Cast vision, connect with other leaders, teach the congregation. Period. No hauling folding chairs from room to room. No waiting around late to lock the door. No picking up tablecloths from the dry cleaner. Most pastors are willing to do a lot of these tasks. In fact, I think that showing people that I’m not above physical labor is part of teaching them about service and discipleship. But anything outside of those 3 duties really shouldn’t be expected of me as a pastor.

What should be expected of me is that I work to make God famous. That’s what I’m here for, and there are many ways to do that. Church should feel warm and inviting, even to outsiders. Especially to outsiders.

There was some other great advice, too. Spend a large chunk of your budget on youth, because they are the future of the church. Serve food. Make sure the music is jamming. Don’t be afraid of technology. Train leaders and build strong teams.

By the time I finished the book, I was in a very reflective place. I realized that no matter how busy I am, I should spend some time alone with God to get an idea of which direction this church should be going in.

If nothing was impossible, where would I like us to be in 3 years?

This book was written for church leaders, but I think that’s a good question for anyone to ask themselves.

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4 responses to “Read 10 Stupid Things by Geoff Surratt

  1. nice job Seth.

    I always enjoy your blog and keep em coming.

    THIS:

    Spend a large chunk of your budget on youth, because they are the future of the church. Serve food. Make sure the music is jamming. Don’t be afraid of technology. Train leaders and build strong teams.

    if you do nothing besides these things to build up your church, it will be awesome!!!

    love, anna

  2. Investing money in the youth sounds like good advice. The trick is not to put pressure on the youth however. My neighbor across the street is a full time staff member of his Christian church. He expressed some frustration that was given to him by his pastor. Essentially, the pastor wants his band (the church band) to be the driving force to expand the youth’s ministry as well as the church. Problem is, my neighbor sees that it’s going to take more than his band to add some umph to the church. He feels cornered in and pressured. I’m sure it’s effecting his spiritual plight. Focus on the youth but set realistic goals for each ministry. All members of your church should be fishers of men and it shouldn’t feel weird to do missionary work. Alot of times, helping people to become more firm in their faith is half the battle. Otherwise you have a bunch of members who are insecure to invite others to church functions and the non believer can smell it a mile away.

  3. I think the biggest dilemmas a spiritual leader can face is reaching out to the youths. It’s a nice thought “spending money” from my experience all it takes is time. We seem to go astray once the kids becomes a certain age, they are left battling their own life obstacles. I still see them as children only with longer legs, trying to find ways of dealing with their own. We have to be kind and understanding of them not quick to pass judgement, then we have to assure them that regardless of the paths they chose that we’ll still be there with a bowl of advice towards their choice. The one thing that hurts me most is seeing a teen from our church family with a child running from church because there’s more of criticism then support/guidance.

    “If nothing was impossible, where would I like us to be in 3 years?”
    -The war in Iraq I would really like for it to end, our economy I wish things can roll smooth back again. To be happy, to invest our time, patience and understanding in our youth so that they may lead a sturdy path.

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