One month in…deep breath. The first week of my new student ministry job, I took off to youth camp. I stepped onto a 55 passenger bus knowing no one except some fellow staff members. One week later, I came back with a new family.
Starting a new ministry position is tricky. It’s tough to be the new guy on staff, learn the names of students and volunteers, figure out who is related, and who your key connects will be. I am one month into this journey and am still figuring this stuff out, along with trying to purchase a home, get acquainted with a new city, and prepare for my first child. But….I am loving every second of it.
Part of assessing a ministry is taking its spiritual temperature. This includes examining the past, present, and desired future of the ministry. Through conversations with the ministries vetrans and new-comers a pastor has to look for ways to breath a fresh dose of the Holy Spirit into this new context. As any pastor knows, this does not come easy. Trust has to be earned. You have to prove yourself worthy of leadership and earn the right to make changes.
My students are currently going through Andy Stanley and Stewart Hall’s Max Q Leadership Training Manual and as I sat in on one of the sessions I was impressed by a point made about the nature of a leader. Stanley and Hall suggest “To accurately reflect Jesus, you must be authentic. You must show that you hurt, you fear, you care. That you don’t have all the answers. That you’re not hiding behind Sunday-school cliches. That you live in the real world with a real God who is real life.” This is what people desire to see in new pastors. Authenticity over answers. However, the longer we are in our ministry positions, the more we tend to lean more toward answers. When we do this we loose a bit of our authenticity and lead from our strengths rather than from our weaknesses. May we, like Paul, remember that “His grace is sufficient for us, for His power is made perfect in our weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). My challenge for you is to remember how weak and vulnerable you felt when you first entered your ministry position and recapture that spirit of authenticity from which you led. May you lean on the Spirit’s guiding rather than your own as you make disciples!