Being a first-time pastor or a pastor at a new church can be intimidating. Former pastor, Dr. Thom Rainer offers some advice to young pastors entering a new church for the first time.
Dr. Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. He has authored more than a dozen books addressing church health and growth and pastoral leadership, including Becoming a Welcoming Church, I Am a Church Member, Autopsy of a Deceased Church, and Who Moved My Pulpit?
The entire video is above, and the complete transcript is below.
When you begin to talk about young pastors, and especially if they’re new at a church, there really is a single, common mistake. You could argue that there are others, but I see one consistently among young pastors. And that is to move ahead without knowing the church well and without knowing the community well. To just go straight ahead with your ideas, your thoughts, all of your plans, your programs, without getting to know people better.
I am not suggesting that a young pastor put everything on hold until he has the opportunity to meet everybody, to go into the community. But I am saying, very clearly, many young pastors lose credibility right away because they failed to take time to get to know people in the church and in the community.
I’ll brag on my son, Sam, my oldest son. He’s one of the pastor sons in my family. And what he does when he goes to a church – he’s been at his current church about 4 years. He goes to some of the longer-term members and he says, “Tell me your story in this church.” And he’ll also say, “Tell me some steps of faith that you really resonate with that have taken place in the church.” And they tell him. It gives him, not only credibility, but he develops relationship and it gives him thoughts about what he can do for the future based upon their stories of the past.
So I would encourage all young pastors, I would encourage all new pastors going into a first situation, take time even in the midst of leading change to build that credibility and get to know the people and get to know the community. It’s an investment, I really don’t think you’ll ever regret making.
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