"When a pastor primarily feeds, people enjoy the church but lack a corporate sense of destiny. They graze comfortably in the valley and never climb to new heights. The church has a warm fuzzy feeling, and people enjoy the inspiration and fellowship, but they're not trying to achieve anything. Sheep don't want to climb mountains. They're happy as long as they have a patch of grass.
If a pastor emphasizes leading, on the other hand, he or she may drive the sheep into the ground, pushing them up the mountain without allowing them to stop and eat. If the flock makes it to the top, they're dizzy with weariness, and the burnout quotient increases.
I want to be the warm and gentle pastor who comforts and the visionary leader who challenges. I've found, although difficult at times, it's possible to do both." (Jack Hayford, "How to Lead and Feed," found in Who's in Charge? Standing Up to Leadership Pressures, 28.)
I think the above quotation from Hayford is extremely insightful. How do we balance being a challenging, forward-focused leader with being a warm and gentle pastor who comforts?
It seems that this is a question that every pastor and every church should ask often. Yet, it is so easy to remain busy keeping the programs going, preparing for next week, meeting with the "urgent" needs of parishioners, and trying to find personal space amidst all the chaos, that working toward balance seems impossible. With all of this going on, who has time for strategic planning, visionary prayer, and space to gain perspective on what God wishes for the future?
I think the real reason why this balance appears to be so difficult is because it does not match the expectations of many pastors or parishioners. In fact, how well a pastor does often is directly related to the experiences of the one "judging" performance (either the pastor or the parishioners).
What if our expectations were set so that we looked for and encouraged pastors to be balanced between challenging leadership and pastoral presence? What would we look for? How would we judge whether this balance is being kept?
Furthermore, how would a church community be able to help promote this type of leadership? It appears to me that many church communities actually discourage such leadership by setting and promoting different expectations. How do we change the "church culture/expectations" to promote and encourage this type of leadership?
I guess I have more questions than answers today. Too many discussions with fellow pastors are ringing in my ears! Would love any comments.