Thoughts for a New pastor

by Donald R. Wells

As you eagerly settle in to your new call, you certainly are coming with dreams, goals, and plans that you can't wait to unveil.

May I pass on some thoughts that I've gathered over the years?

Always affirm what your predecessor did. The people who worked with him/her will know his faults, and may be quick to point them out, but you didn't know him, and therefore haven't earned the right to criticize.

Listen to their traditions. The members love their traditions, and they are meaningful to them. Embrace them, and be slow to change them. Most traditions can be changed, but not until the people trust you enough to know that you have a reason for the change and that you will be giving them something better in its place.

Be slow to make changes. Occasionally, there will be things happening that are not biblical, or are hurting the witness of the church. Of course, these will need to be changed. But, most of the things we want so desperately to change are a matter of personal choice. Let people learn to trust you first. If you are going to lead them into new territory, they must first trust the leader.

When you see things you feel have to be changed, write them down. Then give them six months or a year. If they are still important at the end of that time, then by all means work for change! Chances are that you won't even remember why you wanted to make a change by that time.

A lot of what "feels wrong" to us is simply "foreign" to our ways. Remember, your "right ways" will be "foreign" to your new church, and may feel just as wrong to them as their ways do to you.

It's interesting that pastors often complain that churches don't want to change, when in reality it's the pastor who doesn't want to change. He/she simply wants to bring what he's always done to a new church so he won't have to change.

Don't worry about leaving your mark. If you are faithful to the Lord, to God's Word, and love the people you serve, you will leave your mark! The longer you serve among them, the deeper and more permanent the mark will be. It will be worn in with time and love.

Relax, laugh often, and enjoy living out the call of God.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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