One of the great dangers of pastoring a church is the constant pressure to grow. Numbers have long been the definition of success for churches, which has led to a very slippery slope as we identify “successful” churches.

I am a firm believer that healthy things grow. It’s a natural byproduct of health. John 15 even speaks to this when Jesus makes the analogy of vines and branches. If we remain in him (the true vine), we will grow (as his branches). If not, we will die. This is the promise of Jesus for our lives. And I believe it’s a promise for our ministries.

Numbers are a sign of growth, but absolutely not the only sign of growth. Especially for church planters and pastors that are taking new ground in their ministries. The early days of a new work are filled with incredibly hard work. And much of the fruit will not be seen publicly for years to come. But take courage today in your greatest calling: to take care of the ones the Lord has already sent your way. Love your people well. Pastor them in every sense of the word. Continue to cast vision. Steward your finances well. Care for your leadership team. And make sure your church family knows that you, as their pastor, love them deeply.

I love and believe in you all and count it a privilege to stand alongside you as we proclaim the life, freedom and love found in Jesus Christ. Happy Monday!