The #1 skill that a pastor should master is RECRUITING.*
You might say that the #1 skill that a pastor (or any other ministry leader) should master is preaching. A pastor can get pretty good at preaching and build a large audience. But, if he doesn’t master recruiting, find people, and equip them to lead and staff the kids ministry, the youth ministry, the worship and music ministry, the facilities, the finance, etc. he won’t be able to keep that large audience.
You might say that the #1 skill that a pastor should master is care and counseling. A pastor can get pretty good at caring for people, counseling them, and facilitate lots of healing in people’s lives. But, if she doesn’t master recruiting and equip other leaders to care for people as well, she and the organizational side of her ministry will eventually collapse under the sheer weight of the amount of need.
It’s the same principle for youth pastors, children’s pastors, worship pastors, etc. A youth pastor can be really good at building relationships with the kids. But, if she doesn’t recruit and equip other adults join her, she’ll burn herself out trying to do everything. A worship pastor can be really good at playing and singing worship songs. But, if he doesn’t recruit and equip others to join in and contribute to the musicianship, creativity, and technical aspects of the ministry, he’s going to be stuck managing it all himself.
Did you ever notice that the Disciples of Jesus never volunteered. They didn’t see a posting on Facebook or in an email or in the church bulletin. They didn’t hear Jesus make a plea for more disciples one day when he was teaching the crowds. They didn’t come up to Jesus and ask him if they could join his team. The disciples didn’t volunteer. Jesus recruited each one himself.
Most of our “volunteers” were hand-picked and personally asked. In fact, several people have told me that they never would’ve volunteered if I hadn’t asked them. In most cases, you’ll need to personally ask people to join your team. If you don’t ask them, they either feel like you don’t need them or someone else will fill the need.
So, yes, pastors need to know how to preach. They need to know how to care and counsel. They need to know how to lead meetings and manage the ministry. But, the way I see it, none of these skills will get them very far if they don’t recruit and equip other people to do real ministry so that the body of Christ can be built up. The #1 skill that every pastor should master is … recruiting.
* When I say recruiting I’m envisioning a more biblically informed sort of recruiting. One that seeks to help people identify their spiritual gifts and find their fit in the Body of Christ. One that has the formation of each person being recruited in mind as opposed to one that fills open positions in programs.