Here are a few suggestions for a pastor’s first year in a new ministry:
- Be prepared to work really hard, especially the first year. First impressions matter, and pastors need to have a strong work ethic. I appreciate those who emphasize the importance of a pastor taking care of his family and his health, but I’ve seen many pastors use those issues as a smokescreen for a poor work ethic. Translation: they’re lazy. Pastors need to work hard.
- In your first year, invest most of your time in people. Relationships are key to any ministry. Relationships are the heart of any ministry. When a pastor begins a new position and spends more time on tasks than on people, the message is clear. Pastors are in the relationship business. Yes, there are many tasks to get done in pastoral ministry, but don’t forget to invest in people!
- Value the labor of others who served before you arrived. Sometimes pastors assume the church needs our wisdom and presence and leadership. The reality is this: your church existed long before you showed up, and odds are it will exist long after you’re gone. Don’t forget to acknowledge and even celebrate the contribution of pastors and lay-persons who served before your arrival.
- Do not make any big changes on the advice of others. Every church is different. Some changes need to be made immediately, others can wait. You need to come in and make your own evaluation of the situation. Do not only rely on the advice of the search team, the elders, or the deacons. Instead, listen to their advice, survey the situation, and lead in the changes you believe need to happen.
Originally published September 28, 2015 on landoncoleman.com.