Lessons I’m Learning about being a Pastor

I’ve worked at served at local churches since 1995.

I love the local church! 

My hobbies over the years have always included studying, reading and learning about the church. I love church history and I love just love the church.

I believe fully that the local church is the Hope of the World! 

I have worked at big churches, I have worked at small churches. I have worked at traditional churches and I have worked at contemporary churches.

I have even tried to leave the church! Yes, it’s true. Twice, actually. The first time I was pretty burned out and I tried to find a job in the marketplace. The second time, I left to pursue my dream of speaking full time.

Both times, God drew me back to my first love…The local church. 

During my entire career at churches, I have always served under a Pastor. I have been a youth pastor, a student ministries director, a jr high pastor and I’ve lead small groups.

At Thrive, I’m in the Pastor. I am now the person who has to make tough decisions to keep the church aligned with its vision. It’s an entirely new day for me.

A few thoughts on that. 

1. I love it. I really do believe that I am in my sweet spot. I love the church. I love church leadership. I love church growth. I love church planting. I really do love what I get to do. I have my dream job.

2. It’s hard. I’m not afraid of hard work. But, this is different than hard work. Eternity hangs in the balance. Pastors don’t lead churches to create country clubs and feel good organizations. People need hope. Jesus offers that hope. It’s our role to point them to Him.

3. I don’t know much. I have served the local church for almost 20 years. What I am realizing everyday is…I don’t know much. I’m trying, I’m working, I’m serving, I’m learning, I’m asking, I’m seeking, I’m relying on God to show me the way.

That being said, I have learned a few things in my short time of being Thrive’s Pastor, here they are.

Lessons I’m Learning

1. Vision Leaks. I know this isn’t anything new and if you’ve ever heard Stanley or Hybels speak, you will hear quite often. But, it’s true. I feel like one of my primary roles is to be the Vision Waterfall. Does that make sense? I want to continually remind people of the vision. Through stories, through life change, through new faces and by telling any and every one that will listen.

2. You have to ask. There are some church planters that think, if I just open the doors to a new church, people will come. Well, maybe, but honestly, no…not at all.

You have to ask! You have to ask a lot! You have to call, email, text, Facebook and ask people to come. You have to remind them that its important to be a part of the local church and you have to ask them to be a part.

3. Dreaming is HUGE, but turning dreams into reality is a whole other thing! I’m a dreamer, I am. Always have been. My mind doesn’t stop racing with new ideas. That’s why I love change so much! But, dreaming is easy. I know it’s not for some, but for me, it’s easy. I can see things. I’ve seen Thrive in my head and heart for years.

But, getting Thrive to the place it is now, wow, reality is so much harder! There are so many different factors. Yes, I ask God to give me new dreams. Yes, I want to live out the dreams He lays on my heart. So, I know that when they’re from God, I have the power of the Holy Spirit to forge dreams into reality. But yikes, its still tough. You doubt. You struggle. Satan attacks.

Even in the midst, you must keeping moving forward. Again, there is too much at stake.

4. I can’t do everything. I know how simple that statement is and I know its kind of a no brainer. But, my goodness, I want to do everything…if I’m honest. But, what is good for the growth of my church and for the growth of my leadership is to continually be thinking:

Replication and Discipleship. Who can I empower to lead? Who can I pour into spiritually?

Why do I have to ask those questions? Because those are the questions that lead to exponential growth.

I can’t do everything. I shouldn’t everything. I’m not good at everything. A one man show is never really all that good (unless your Bill Cosby or Billy Crystal).

These are just a few of the lessons I have learned in my extremely short time of being a Pastor. More to come soon! 

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