I’ve been involved in church ministry for the past six years, but I only became a pastor six months ago. It’s been a wild ride ever since. It seemed fitting to share what I’ve learned in my first six months as a pastor.
01) I Can’t Do Everything I Want to Do
I’m an idea person. I come up with ideas. I like other peoples ideas. I like brainstorming ideas. Unfortunately, I can’t do all of my ideas. I can’t even do all of my good ideas.
As the intern or random member of the congregation, I always had 10 ideas for how to solve all of the churches problems. Now that I’m in leadership, I’ve started to realize that solving problems isn’t as simple as having an idea.
Some ideas just aren’t doable.
- You don’t have the time
- You don’t have a volunteer to delegate to
- You don’t have the money
- The idea works in isolation, but it competes with other ministries in reality
- The timing is wrong
- The schedule is too busy
- The facilities don’t work out
02) I Have to Trust Others With Responsibility
My tendency is to want to do everything. If I’m responsible for the outcome, I want to be in control through the process.
There are several problems with this.
- I can do everything…for a little while, but it’s not sustainable
- I can do everything…but the quality drops on everything
- I can do everything…but I’ll over-work myself
- I can do everything…but I’ll rob others of their opportunity to serve and grow
- I can do everything…but I’ll limit the ministry to my abilities and bandwidth
This is actually a lesson I’ve really learned over the last month. The ministry had strong initial success, but then it hit a plateau as I reached my capacity.
03) It’s Hard to Trust People
One of the reasons I’m struggling to hand off responsibilities is that it’s hard to trust people.
04) Great Praise Comes With Greatest Criticism
This has been a painful lesson to learn. When I was just an intern, I was protected from most criticism or I didn’t do anything substantial enough to receive criticism. However, as a pastor I quickly learned the joys and difficulties of success.
Every time a ministry has been successful or interesting enough to distinguish itself and receive praise, it’s followed closely by criticism of equal magnitude. Sometimes it’s been deserved. Other times it’s over misunderstandings and differences of opinion. And considering what’s at stake in regards to ministry, it’s understandable that people would have strong opinions.
Just be ready, the greater your success, the greater the criticism.
05) I’m Not the Star
This one is hard one to learn because it requires humility. In ministry, it should be one of the first and most obvious lessons. But sin makes us stupid and we start to get some really dumb ideas.