So you are “the new pastor” at the church. It has been a rather grueling process to get there, personally and professionally. With so much at stake (and not that you asked), but here are 12 Thoughts that quickly come to mind. Certainly there are better lists, yet these reflect my own discoveries over many years of ministry that hopefully may prove useful to you:
- Know who you are and whose you are (continually remind yourself)
- Be yourself and not what others want or think you should be (including being like the former pastor!)
- Minister in all your ways with Christ not just for Christ (any striving alone must cease)
- Prioritize your relationship and time with God – wrestle & rest (Soul Care is often assumed by the Body yet rarely practiced by the pastor)
- Establish your daily rhythm/pattern early (including time which is sacred to you) realizing there will always be needs in the Church/Body that can pull you away
- Preach the Gospel, no more and no less, always letting it stand on its own (the Holy Spirit alone does the inner work)
- Take necessary time to intentionally build trust with the Body (it’s more about your relationship than your role), choosing your “big asks” wisely
- Invest early and continually in maturing your leaders (and potentials) who serve with you (healthy leaders make for a healthy church)
- Direct your “sheep” away from you and toward Jesus (you are not to be the first one to whom they call or listen!)
- Love the sheep (you don’t have to like them!)
- Remember that your church is the Bride of Christ (especially on those days when you may think otherwise!)
- Meditate alone on Isaiah 41:9-10 (in the many times when you question your call):
‘You are my servant’;
I have chosen you and have not rejected you.
So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
~ Isaiah 41:9b-10 NIV