Recently I was asked, “What advice do you have for those preparing for ministry leadership”

Below are my responses, in no particular order…

What would be your response to the same question?

Discern your call. Let it be confirmed and affirmed by those inside and outside your church. A hired hand will run away.

Have people in your life who you trust and can turn to when you have questions. Let them be wise counselors, not friends your age or dopes you go to school with. Find someone a few years ahead of you who has been down the road a bit.

Discover what you are best at. Focus on that. Get away from being a ‘jack of all trades.’ Learn how to streamline ministry to focus on what the church does best. Don’t do everything. “If everything is important, then nothing is important.”

Discover what problem you are here to solve. What would go undone if your church wasn’t there? What problems are you solving? Your church or ministry should be a solution to something.

Be a reader. You have to continue to read, grow, and learn.

Develop a thick skin. “Hurting people hurt people.” Remember pastors – sometimes sheep bite.

Prepare yourself for cultural transitions. If you are planning on entering a mainline denomination, you will probably have to change the culture of that congregation. This is a challenging task. You will feel like a stranger in a strange land. It is almost like being a missionary. It is difficult to transition a congregation and it takes time. Don’t get too frustrated.

“Get some change in your pocket.” Don’t make a withdrawal if you do not money in the bank. If you love people and they trust you in your small decisions, then ultimately you can begin to lead towards making larger decisions that require some built in time and trust. Often, we try to cash checks we don’t have the money for. Your good ideas won’t mean anything if you don’t have any change in your pocket.

Look past next weekend. Begin to place into your life the concept of strategic planning and planning ahead. Most pastors or churches cannot see past next weekend. Visionaries are able to see not only past next weekend, but even further down the road.

Love God and love people. Don’t overcomplicate the ministry. If you love them, you can lead them.

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