My young family and I moved to Spokane, WA, on November 25, 2006. We had transitioned from full-time evangelists to pastors in less than 2 weeks. I was officially voted in as pastor on November 21st. Life was a blur at its slowest moments. We had 77 people in our first service and averaged in that ballpark for the rest of the year.
I had never been in a staff meeting. I had never led a group of elders. I had never counseled anybody. I had a lot to learn and made many mistakes. Here are 5 things that I have learned in 5 years as pastor of ConnectPoint.
1. Bring your own shoes. The usual pressure that is placed on a new pastor is to try to fill the preceding pastor’s shoes. Bring your own shoes. Make your own tracks. Don’t try and fight your giants in somebody else’s armor. After Moses died, Joshua was appointed as the new leader. God spoke a very important promise to Joshua in the genesis of his new task.
Joshua 1:3 – Every place the sole of your foot shall tread upon, that have I given unto you.
New leader. New shoes. New tracks.
2. Be friends with your staff. I have fun with my staff. We joke around at staff meetings. We have inside jokes that nobody else would understand. We also get our work done. We have fun while we do it. I love my staff and wouldn’t consider elevating a leader that wouldn’t laugh with us.
3. Don’t fear people. You will preach doctrine that some won’t agree with. There will be wolves to deal with. You will have to change the church to fit the mission that God has given you. This will require paradigm shifts, personnel shifts, etc. You will have face-to-face confrontations. You can’t allow the fear of people to stop your vision. Make the tough decisions. Don’t poll your popularity.
4. Let your wife find her niche.
Luke 1:57-63 – Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
All the neighbors and cousins gathered around Elizabeth hoping to name her baby. They called his name Zacharias. This was a problem because God wanted his name to be John. Obeying God, Elizabeth called him John. The new name was official, only after her husband backed up her decision to name him John.
Don’t let anybody tell your wife what her gifting should be. God has a divine purpose on her life that will probably be a paradigm shift for most saints. She doesn’t need to be the keyboard player, Sunday School director, etc. What is God calling her to do? What does she want to do? Find her niche, and support her completely.
5. Every Moses is given an Aaron.
Exodus 4:15-16 – And thou shalt speak unto him, and put words in his mouth: and I will be with thy mouth, and with his mouth, and will teach you what ye shall do. And he shall be thy spokesman unto the people: and he shall be, even he shall be to thee instead of a mouth, and thou shalt be to him instead of God.
Moses had great strengths and g g g glaring weaknesses. Moses could lead and hear from God. He just couldn’t talk. God called Aaron to talk for Moses. Each leader has strengths and weaknesses. Instead of getting speech lessons – let Aaron talk. You go up the mountain and hear from God and lead your people. Let your Aaron’s lead in the areas where you are weak.