Posted by: everynation | June 20, 2008

Pastor’s Priorities

by Steve Murrell

A young pastor recently asked me to help him with his sermon prep skills. We met at Panera Bread, across the street from my office.

The more we talked about his 60-70 hour work week, the more i realized that sermon prep was not the pressing issue in his life, and our conversation shifted to priorities.

To help make my point, I wrote 4 words on the back of my Panera Bread receipt: Christian, husband, father, pastor.

I then pointed to the receipt and said, “This is WHO YOU ARE. What you DO flows from who you ARE.”

Then I scribbled this on the receipt:

Because of who you are, this is what YOU have to do:
1. follow Jesus
2. be a good husband
3. be a father to your 3 sons
4. lead the church

Pointing to the list, I explained to my friend that no one can do the first three, except him. If he does not do them, no one does.

No one can follow Jesus for him.
No one can love his wife for him.
No one can father his sons for him.

This stuff can’t be delegated.

Number 4 is totally different. Number 4 can be delegated and staffed. In fact, the more number 4 is delegated, the more successful the pastor (and the church) will be.

The first three demand a one-man-show. The last one demands a team.

Not sure if i helped my friend, but I think I helped me. I always need to remind myself who I am and what my priorities should be.

Steve Murrell is a missionary, pastor, and the author of “The Reluctant Leader” and “The Accidental Missionary.”


  1. Ps Steve, thank you for the reminder. It is so easy to reverse that order especially in a fast-paced, demanding, performance-oriented culture that I am in… HUL!

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