I remeber my first comments on the BPN was under Min. Lockett discussion regarding "My First Sermon." At that time I was like him "An associate minister, faithful, patience, prayerful, hard working, and preparing for the day when God's will would allow me to pastor a church. You hear the discussion all the time, "When I am a Pastor, I will do this and that. We dont covete the position but we see ourselves preparing for the opportunity. Well, my season is here. After prayer/fasting/listening I recently accepted the Letter from a church to Psator. Words can't describe how I have been feeling. I'm careful to request to stay in God's mercy, remain humble, listen twice before speaking once, trying not to fix things that are not broken, (that is another discussion) learning names, praying frequently, and teaching/preaching. Every Pastor who I know has called, emailed, & texted congrats but I'm looking for advice from some of the experience members of BPN to begin a discussion of advice to new Pastors. I would rather learn from others mistakes than make them. School can prepare you but on day one, life experinces re-train you. by the way, all those ideas you had racing through your mind before you became a Pastor seem to exit on day one. I would like to hear your advice to New Pastors. I have always been one to recieve advice and learn from it.
Many churches have a need for a pastor, preacher and a man of God. However in some denominations, denominational leaders assign pastors. If you are not trying to stay within the constraints of a particular denomination. Get to know local pastors and church members of various churches. Pray and ask God's guidance for the right door to open that God has prepared for you. Go online many churches seeking pastors solicit through their associations online. Finally it's possible to start your own church. Develop a home bible study and get as many people as you can to attend; it could blossom into a church..... Wherever two or three gather in His Name, God is in the mist. I am pastoring my fourth church...... I once started my own church and rented a local recreation hall and moved into a nursing home..... the nursing home residents and staff became my members. Call me if you need me .....214-388-4135; firstname.lastname@example.org
Always, always, always walk in Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom & Justice.
Do not let the "rich" members control you. Stay away from those "silly women" and men. Stay true to your area of ministry expertise, if you have one. Find out what the vision and purpose of the ministry was before you got there and build on that if possible. Find out who the so-called Movers & Shaker's are ASAP and pray for them especially... Have as much fun as possible...
THERE IS SOMETHING I LIKE TO CALL THE MOSE SYNDOME, WHERE THE WEAK SEE YOU AS THERE CONNECTION TO GOD, INSTEAD OF SEEING YOU AS SOMEONE WHO TEACHES THEM HOW TO CONNECT WITH GOD. SO IF YOU NOT THERE STANDING GUARD OVER THEM THEY USES THAT AS AN EXCUSE TO SLIP BACK TO THEIR SINFUL WAYS. SO ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU ARE THERE TO SHOW THEM THE WAY TO GOD, BUT THEY HAVE TO AGREE TO TRAVEL THAT ROAD
My advice for you is to STAND ON THE WORD OF GOD.......NO MATTER WHAT OR WHO comes at you. Also, the best advice I received in my transition to the Pastorate was to "Show LOVE to the people, and they'll reciprocate that LOVE back to you" and DON'T COMPROMISE or REDUCE the Word under ANY circumstances. Be the Pastor/Shepherd NOT a Hire-Hand/Preacher, make changes slowly, and under God's unction and when you make changes TEACH them 1ST so they will buy into the vision God has given. And if you should ever need any help, feel free to call upon me and I'll be glad to share with you. My personal email is email@example.com
I wouldnt advise a person to have their first experience in their parents church. I got up there and it was super awkward. My sisters laughed the whole time and I dont feel anybody in there took me serious.
First time in front of strangers seems to be a better way to go
Apart from maintaining spiritual focus there are some practical things I would mention, based on experience (mine and others I've learned from).
1. Discount all your research and pre-search (and gossip) about the church.
2. Take time to learn the politics so you can avoid, navigate and get beyond it
3. Make big changes early while you have a honeymoon (but see #4).
4. Avoid disturbing power structures and centers too early
5. Target a key demographic in the church based on your skill set or commitments. For example it might be the youth or seniors or single parents. You will be everyone's pastor and be fair but it can help if you channel your energies somewhere you can personally make a difference.
6. Hit the streets. Get to know the community beyond the church's walls.
7. Stay humble. Don't take the negative stuff personally. Remember you are coming in as pastor but there might be some leaders (elders, deacons, ministers etc) who know they can outlast you if you get swell headed.
8. Have a family or personal day. Unless it's an emergency let other leaders handle it.
9. Make time to recreate, exercise, meet and make friends.
10. Wake everyday knowing that you've got the greatest job in the world and that exchanging places with Prez Obama would be a demotion.
Remember if it is a mainline (older established ministry), it takes time to get to know you and you to know them. Develop relationships with people. Do not come in with a wrecking ball and hammer everything away. Granted, there are some things that you can hack away immediately. Be respectful to them. Even in error, this might be all they know. Love the people and share your heart with them and most of them will respond positvely.
Congratulations to you. My advice to you is not of one who pastors but one who work with ministries. Make sure the organizational and operational structure of the ministry is solid and in place as it pertains to federal and state regulations. I find so many churches out of compliance primarily due to "lack of knowledge" because it was handed down to them or they understood it in this manner. Not only that, compliance is often placed on the back burner even when brought to light because it is not an area many care to deal with or want to do it in their own way with their own rules.
The whole premise behind churches being automatically tax exempt is because of the government recognized the church's recognition in the community and it being a major resource or conduint to give back to it as a NON-PROFIT (meaning the net revenue after all reasonable business expense has been paid should not be given to or split with individuals) organization. However, this automatic recognition does not come without guidelines and regulations. For years and still today, many churches in our culture view this exemption as a "do what I want to do" mentality when truthfully speaking, that is not so. I believe it was Jesus who said "Render Under Caesar What is Caesar and Unto God What is God's". So even Jesus understood that we have to obey the laws of "this land".
Primarily, pastors focus on the spiritual side of ministry which is understood because that is just "who he/she is". However, there is a business side to ministry. I've heard many a complaint to the church being a business, but I'm sorry, it is! Any entity that bring in revenue, pay out expense and enter legal transactions is known as a "business". The church is "required" as any other business, to register with the Secretary of State, comply with their states requirements, obtain a federal identification number from the IRS and comply with its regulations. Bottom line, make sure the business of the house is in order as well!