A Journey, a New Opportunity, & First Steps

Chris  —  October 14, 2011 — 4 Comments
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After months of waiting and searching, God has given us the opportunity to go to a new church, begin a new ministry, and do life with new friends.

Today (Friday) is the day we begin the journey from where we’ve been to where we will be.

If you haven’t caught all the parts of the story, you can get the full picture through these posts:

- A Changing Season for Us

- The Challenge of the Wait

- What I’ve Learned from David’s Honest Worship

- Our Circling Plane No Longer Has to Wait

- Restless

Once we’ve driven the many miles, unloaded the big ugly yellow box on wheels, and settle in, what will happen next?

What will be the first steps that I’ll take in this new opportunity? I’ve done this a few times before, and each time I learn something new. Something that I think will be beneficial that next time around.

Our First Steps when beginning a new ministry will include:

1.    Get settled. This may seem obvious, but we’ll take a little time to settle in. Ministry gets busy fast. It will go a lot better for the entire family to take time to get the home settled before the busyness of ministry takes over.

2.    Get to know the people. Take time to get to know the people. These are the friends and family God has drawn us to be with. These are the people we will do life, ministry, joys, and sadness with. Taking the time to invest, know, and build relationships is vitally important. Even more important than developing ministry plans.

3.    Build relationships with the leaders.  This would include both official leaders and “unofficial” leaders. It’s easy, especially as an associate pastor, youth pastor, or whatever to think that this isn’t as important. But, it is. As I’m building relationships with the church as a whole, I need to build relationships with the leaders of the church. They offer wisdom and understanding that will be important. We can’t overlook these important connections.

4.    Pray for strong relationships. Relationship work is hard. At least it is for me. As we’re doing the work of relationship building, it needs to be built on a foundation of prayer.

5.    Observe and learn the culture. Each community, each church, has unique characteristics and cultural norms. Ministry in Pennsylvania is different than ministry in Ohio, which is different than ministry in Wyoming and will be different than ministry in Alabama. Or wherever you might be. There are things that I will carry with me and do similarly because they are timeless truths and principles. But I’ve got to understand the culture to know how to do ministry, relationship, and life in a way that honors God and our new church.

6.    Pray for wisdom. Just as with relationships, I need to be praying for God’s wisdom. This is key to understanding the church, culture, and situation. This is what will help me to make good choices and plans. Of knowing when to speak and when to be silent. Wisdom is an important part of effective ministry, and it comes from God.

7.    Lead with grace while pointing people to Christ. Every good list has seven points. While this is the last one, it certainly isn’t the least important. Even from day 1, as I’m learning the culture and building relationship, I need to lead in every area of ministry and life with grace. In my family, in ministry, and in worship. If I’m in this for my own glory, that’s not good. I don’t start leading with grace after I know everything or have a plan. I don’t point people to Christ after establishing my own platform. It starts from Day 1.

There are our 7 first steps. I’m planning on updating you on our progress in a few months with how it’s going and what we’ve learned.

Please join with us in this new season by praying for us. That would be great. Thanks!

For Discussion:
- As a pastor/ministry leader, what are some first steps you take in a new ministry? Anything I missed?

- As a congregation member, what is something you wish a new pastor would do in his first days? What’s something a new pastor has done that was meaningful to you?

Please leave a comment with your thoughts and insights. Thanks!

Chris

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4 responses to A Journey, a New Opportunity, & First Steps

  1. Great post Chris and I’ll be praying for you.

    I would add “Listen” and invite people one-o-one to share honestly their heart, their hurts and their hopes.

    Congrats on your new assignment. The Lord be with you!

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