Pastor Clark Graham
July 30, 2020
Starting out in a new ministry is always a challenge. By this, I’m referring to a new leader transitioning into an already-established ministry. Transitions in leadership always involve a process of growth, even under the most ideal conditions, for both church leaders and church members. Throw in embedded perceptions of leadership, organizational complexity (or lack thereof), or possibly some raw emotions from a traumatic departure of leadership before you, and you have the potential for a rough start.
Regardless of the circumstances however, it is possible to start well when entering a new ministry. Here are some steps to help make that possibility a reality:
The old adage rings true here, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Love is a universal language that anyone can understand and everyone wants to hear! Whether you’re helping hurting hearts or simply trying to connect with new faces, cultivating relationships should be a main priority.
It is easy to get behind a leader that has a clear, Biblical vision and is passionate about it. Communicate your vision for the church or ministry that you lead in a way that inspires people to rally around it. Many leaders are “steering the ship” according to some sort of vision, but sometimes the problem is very few are on board with them.
Whether you are stepping into a new pastorate or staff position, undoubtedly there are people under your leadership that need encouragement…from you! Find someone doing something right and praise them for a job well done. Speaking negatively about the former leader or way of doing things will not get you very far - even if what you say is true! Focus on the positive and intentionally commend people for the things that are going well.
You’ve probably heard the saying that people go through three phases in times of change: rejection, tolerance, and acceptance. There is a lot of truth to that observation. When you are the new leader in a church or ministry, you will have a lot of fresh ideas you will want to implement – quickly! That’s not always a bad thing. Just remember, too many changes too fast might scare your people. If it doesn’t scare them it might send the message, “Everything you did before I came was wrong or not very good.” If there are major things that must be corrected now, by all means correct them. Pace yourself strategically with the other changes and be sure to communicate well in the process.
I saved the best for last. Paul explained in 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase. 7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.” When it is all said and done, you are not the one that does the transforming in people’s hearts. God does that part! We are simply human instruments that He wants to use. As a spiritual leader, you have been called to transfer Biblical truth that will challenge and transform lives!
As you step into a new ministry, May God use you to be His agent for spiritual growth and change in the lives of others to the glory of God!
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