The best ministry ideas come from within the congregation. One of this biggest mistakes that pastors make is when they have a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude. No where in the Bible do we find that a pastor is to be a dictator. Yes, the pastor is the ‘overseer’ of the church. He is the one who is responsible for the overall spiritual condition and management of the church. But, the pastor is not to ‘rule over’ the people. The pastor is to be a servant-leader. Sometimes pastors think that because they have been ‘called’ and because they have a certain degree then they know better than everybody else. If truth were told, most of the time, the pastor does know best. Pastors will come into a church with certain personal expectations and agendas without any consideration of who the people are and where they come from. This is why pastors must listen to what their people say. They must build relationships and learn to adapt to the culture of the particular church in which they pastor. One thing that I have learned as a pastor is that I cannot change people. Only God can bring true change. I cannot force my way of thinking on the people that I pastor. Instead as my learn their ways and thoughts and be where they are. Just because I am the pastor, it does not mean that I know what is best for the church. As a matter of fact, the people in the church have the best ideas. Why is this? Well, the people in the church live and work in the community. Most likely, they have been in the area much longer than the pastor. They grew up in the church. If anyone knows the best way to minister to the community it is the people in the church. I have also learned as a pastor that those things that come from me does not seem to be as succesful as it is when it comes from someone else. When the people of the church get a hold of vision and they act upon it, it has a much greater chance of being accomplished than if it is just the pastor’s vision. Yes, the pastor is a factor. He must be the one to drive the vision and push the congregation to act and to serve. But the ideas for the ministry must come from the people. This is why I believe every pastor and ministry leader should give their people the opportunity to share their personal ideas and visions. At Spruce Head, we have a vision meeting once a year where the people are given the opportunity to share their personal ideas for ministry. When the people are involved in casting the vision then greater things can be accomplished for the glory of God! Ministry leaders, you are not the expert. It is not all about you. Listen to the people you serve. Pursue the ideas for ministry that they have. When you do, you will gain a greater respect, and you will bring glory to God as you serve as a servant-leader and not as dictator.