I wrote this article a little over two years ago. It was for the incoming youth pastor, and it was my desire to help him and to build a relationship with him. FBCV hired a new youth pastor a few weeks ago, and he will began this week. Most of the points of the article that I wrote earlier are still true (except for #6, I do to know what happened to the chair. It is probably on a garbage pile somewhere).
Jared, I will be praying for your ministry; you are about to begin a very rewarding and difficult journey. My two sons are looking to you to be their pastor. As their father I need you to do well. Men before you have laid a road that you must repair and move forward on. I will lay whatever bricks on that road you need, and carry whatever load needs to be carried. I want to help you in any way that I can. I will have your back, and I will love your family. I will put my shoulder to work and will move mountains for you. Your success is inseparably linked to mine. If you fail, I fail. If you win, I win (and my children). Too much time has been wasted, now it’s time to change the world. Let’s get going.
Here’s the original article.
This coming Sunday, First Baptist Church Valdosta will vote to hire a new youth pastor after almost a year search process. Barring some unforeseen drama the church should vote to hire him. His office will be next to mine in the church, and I am wondering what is going through his head right now. I remember how nervous and apprehensive I was the first week I started.
I will get to move from â€œrookieâ€ status and he will now sit in that chair (thanks man.) Since I am now a well-seasoned veteran after six months, I now feel fully capable of giving some advice, so here we go.
Tips for the â€œRookieâ€ staff person
1. Let people know what you are doing, especially your boss. This is not bragging, instead you are letting people know what direction you are headed. Because people have this information, they are able to warn you of troubled waters ahead, or how that did or did not work years ago the last time it was attempted. When people are informed there is less of a chance for people to read-into situations, your motives, or where you want the ministry to go. I have discovered at FBCV that with its many years of ministry there are few things that have not been before done in some form or another. Some of my â€œcutting edgeâ€ ideas are just re-packaged and re-branded ideas from years ago.
2. Be aware of those that have served in your position before you. Sometimes this is good, and sometimes this is bad, but knowing what they were doing will help you to know what relationships you need to focus on, where you will need to spend your initial energy, and beginning steps into your ministry.
The initial first steps have the capability to put people at ease, or to exacerbate an already aggravated situation. You could also reach back to a well-run ministry before and link it to what you are doing to add some continuity to the ministry. With continuity (of success) brings predictability, with predictability brings trust, with trust ministries can be built. If the one serving before you did a poor job, then this trust building will take more time and vice versa.
3. Balance your life with ministry. There will be a huge temptation to make a huge impact as soon as you can. You will want to work long hours, go to every meeting, and get involved in everything. But remember that ministry is a marathon, not a sprint. In order for your ministry to be solid, long lasting, and life impacting your family has to be solid, long lasting, and life impacting. You will fall into a predictable work week before you know it.
Talk with your spouse about your commitments, scheduling, and how you plan to balance everything. Build some extra time into your schedule, because new and unpredictable things pop up constantly. If you have maxed out your schedule, you will be stressed to add one more meeting, one more counseling session, one more â€œopportunityâ€ at the expense of a childâ€™s ball game or concert.
That being said, work and get things done, when you need to work and get things done. If you slack and say, â€œIâ€™ve got this extra time built in,â€ then it never fails that a crisis will arise when you also need to write a sermon, or teaching lesson, or whatever.
4. Remember you are apart of a team, a staff. When I first started at FBCV, I was contemplating setting up an office in the Childrenâ€™s Building and just using the office in the main building as storage or something. But, I have now learned how bad of an idea that would have been. You need to stay plugged into what other staff are doing, and how you can help them (or they can help you.)
If everyone sets up offices all over the campus in their â€œareasâ€ then there is little chance of people interacting with each other. It is that daily interaction and doing ministry together that creates a bond among the staff. If you rarely see each other on a weekly basis, then there is also little accountability. Offices are just an example of a mindset of how you will work with others.
Make the extra effort to engage them, ask them to go to lunch, spend time on the weekends with them, etc. Even though you are the â€œrookieâ€ make the extra effort to be friendly. The staff are not there for you, you are a part of a team to serves the church as a whole. Take the first step to build a friendship, don’t wait on them.
5. You are a professional, be a professional. How you act, dress, and relate to people in the church environment directly impacts the rest of the staff and the direction the pastor is directing the church as a whole. You represent a larger congregation, and they are counting on you to lead in your area of responsibility and to be professional in how you do it. Be on time, dress nice, and think about what you say and how it will reflect upon others.
6. My office Chair. Along with all this information that I pass on to the â€œrookie,â€ I also pass on the office chair that was in my office when I got here. It needs a little â€œadjustmentâ€ and there are also some other ministry essentials (junk) that I moved out of my office to make your life easier. So, good luck with that.
Rookie, I hope this helps. My office is next door any time you want to roll over.
 Ecclesiastes 1:9 â€œWhat has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.â€