The next three blog posts are going to be an honest review of what I am learning as a new lead pastor. Today I will start with a reflection on myself. Next time I will deal with the church. And, finally, I will consider pastoring in general. If you want to stay up to date with all that information, sign up to have the blog sent to you via email.
Just about six months ago I started a trek that would forever change my life: I accepted the call to serve as the lead pastor at Centerville United Methodist Church. In the past six months I have learned so much about myself, how I am wired, and how I can be most successful. Since I am sure I am not the only one who wrestles with productivity, I thought I would share some of my reflections.
1. I need feedback. As it turns out, there is no handbook to pastoring, and I’m the type of guy who needs to know the thoughts and opinions of people around me. The first couple of months happened so fast that at times it felt as if I was feeling around in the dark for the right answer. Having groups of people to receive feedback from is critical for me.
2. I need people to dump my stuff on. Everyone told me it was a lonely job leading an organization. Having two or three people to share my deepest darkest stuff with has been an absolute lifesaver for me. If left to my own devices, I would surely self-destruct.
3. I cannot appropriately judge my own speed. And no, I’m not talking about my ability to run. What I am talking about is moving the organization towards the vision. I have realized that I move fast, and in doing so I can leave a lot of people in my wake. My best leadership comes when I am listening to people tell me to slow down, or to keep going. My buddy Wayne calls this “The pace of grace.”
4. I need to listen twice as much as I talk. And for a guy who likes to talk that is a difficult task!!! The truth is there are so many parts to this movement that there is no way for me to know them all. Regardless of what I used to think I could do, I’ve come to the conclusion it is impossible for me to lead without listening. Servant leadership requires listening first, asking questions, and then responding to the needs of our community.
5. I need to be honest. So, the reality is that it is easy for me to BS my way through stuff, but the best outcome happens when I am being authentic. The best ministry I’ve had in the last six months has happened when I am vulnerable and authentic.
6. I am an emotional guy. No shocker here, I’ve always known that, but what I didn’t realize is how much emotion would happen in such a short amount of time. I’ve celebrated the life of eight people in six months, and the truth is that there is more coming. Sometimes I get a little weepy about the reality that the members of my congregation, my friends, are significantly older than me. I just want more time with them!
7. I need to remember that I am not the Savior. The hardest part of this journey for me is that I want to fix everything right now. I want deep discipleship, growth, and life-changing mission – RIGHT NOW. The good news is that isn’t the way God works, and the best thing I can do is to remember that I am not the Savior of this church: Jesus is.
It has been an amazing six months for me personally, and I know that the stuff I am learning will change my life forever.
What are some of the things that you are learning in your life journey?