November 23, 2015 I walked into my office at Rocky Valley Baptist Church. This was neither my first job, nor even my first time to start a new and exciting career, however it was my first day as a full time pastor of a church. For most of us, becoming a pastor doesn’t happen the day after you surrender to the call to preach so you spend years coming up with ideas of what you will do when the day finally comes that God opens that door. For me on that day I sat in my office and the startling realization that I did not really know exactly what to do now hit me like a freight train barreling down the tracks. Now, only three months in, I would like to share the top 3 things I have learned about being a pastor.
1. I really don’t know exactly what I am doing, but that’s okay!
You see, the realization that we don’t have everything under control is a humbling experience that causes us to depend on God even more. When we think we have it all figured out, we tend to run on our knowledge and experience; but when we don’t really know then we turn to prayer and spiritual discipline. My prayer life has become more focused, and a more integral part of my life because of all I don’t know!
2. The things I thought would happen, don’t always happen, but that’s okay too!
I used to work a full time job and prepare sermons with early morning study time and late night cram sessions like a college student before a final. I figured once I was a full time pastor I would have all the time in the world for sermon prep, yet sometimes I find my best time early in the morning and late at night. The other facets of ministry and shepherding the flock sometimes require more attention than I intended, but those times are when I often learn the most and draw nearer to the congregation on a relational level.
3. Always feed the sheep
As I stated earlier, you can find that there are many things to get done in a day. I have had to realize that I can’t do all of those things and need the help of those in the church that are capable and willing to help. By allowing others to serve it lessens the number of items on my plate and allows me to focus on making sure that every journey into the pulpit is with preparation and bathed in prayer. Never should the man of God enter the pulpit without the proper prayer and focus that the word deserves, after all we are commanded: Study to show ourselves approved, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of God. 2Timothy 2:15
I have learned a few things in my first 4 months for sure, though there are many lessons left to learn no doubt. I am sure there are many exciting and nervous days ahead, but I know that in Christ the needs will be supplied. Stay tuned in for an update and see what I have learned in eight months as a pastor!