We live in a time when many pastors are not pastors but hirelings. They evaluate and accept a call on its temporal merits, including how much income it provides. Many young men hope to build a legacy -- or at least get started up the ladder -- by taking a small church and growing it. Aside from the fact that this ignores that it is God who gives the increase, it also approaches the pastorate with a priority finding new people/more people to attend church. I told someone just the other day that if a man doesn't want to pastor the people who are already there, then they don't need him as a pastor. This is not that we don't want more people/new people to come, but a pastors first responsibility is to pastor the people who are already there and not some imaginary people that he wants to be there.
A few days after thinking about writing this, I ran across 4 Ways to Become a Horrible Pastor by Andy Flowers. One of the four ways (of becoming a horrible pastor) that he mentions is to "Love church growth more than the church." He said it better than I can (and first), so I want to quote him.
- A pastor who sees the church as a means of growing his little kingdom here on earth is a horrible pastor. He looks right over the needs of the people in the pews in an attempt to attract new people.
- There are things that a pastor can do to attract more people to the church building that have little to do with the gospel.
- A horrible pastor will love the imaginary people who don’t go to his church more than the real people who are already there.
Don't be a horrible pastor. Forsake love of money, your personal agenda, and self aggrandizement. Preach the word (2 Tim. 4:2). Feed the sheep (Acts 20:28). Equip the saints (Eph. 4:12).