We’re on the same team, and I’m glad. So, let’s not compare ourselves to one another or compete with one another.
It’s a real discipline to learn how to be around other churches constantly without beginning to compare. Many pastors are preoccupied privately with what others are doing–whether it’s someone or some church they look up to, or a fellow church in their community. Some view those churches as competitors–though they would rarely admit so.
At some point, most church leaders will have at least a moment when they get tired of hearing about the throngs baptized at the church down the street–or the brilliant idea someone else had that garnered the community’s attention. We’ll get tired of it because it usually happens when things are flat-lined for us.
Please hear me:
Comparing yourself to others is a zero sum endeavor.
A couple of months ago I had lunch with one of those Yodas–those wise, older pastors who have been in ministry so long they ooze wisdom without knowing it. This gentleman could offer commentary on nearly anything and it would be laced with something helpful. He’s been at the same congregation for more than thirty years, and in ministry for more than thirty-five years.
That takes some doing. It doesn’t just happen. It takes something to live one’s life with integrity in a fish bowl, make the sacrifices full-time ministry asks of you, help grow a church over decades, and still smile a lot—after nearly forty years. Such pastors are my heroes. I hope to be one of them.
I’ve extolled the virtues of advanced message series planning for years on this blog, but I realized I’ve never really described the process in detail. So, here it is. This is only my process, but I’m sure there are better ones out there. However, it’s worked for me for years. Here’s my step by step guide to planning out sermons over a year.