This one’s dedicated to all of my clergy colleagues who’re starting new appointments today.
Sadly, I think most (if not all) pastors and church staff members probably have experiences like this at some point in their careers. Whether it’s the nature of church employment, human nature, or a combination of both- part of dedicating one’s life to ministry is putting one’s self on exhibit for inevitable public scrutiny. And yes, there are always some people who feel justified in focusing more on who or what you aren’t rather than who and what you are.
There was a woman I met during my first appointment (whose family is still precious to me) who had a fantastic mindset regarding her relationship to her pastors. She used to say to me, “The way I see it, I can either be a part of making you or breaking you as a pastor. I wanna help make you.” Her words and all of the ways she intentionally encouraged and supported me made a tremendous difference during my early years in ministry. I have no doubt that I was a better pastor due to her efforts and others like her.
If you’re a church person reading this- whether you’re receiving a new pastor today or not- I hope you’ll take seriously the opportunity God is giving you to build up and help your pastor and church staff be the best that they can be. Someone once said, “If you want a better pastor, pray for the one you’ve got.” From experience, I can tell you that prayers, kind words, and even just a simple smile can mean an awful lot to the persons leading your church.
And if you’re a pastor or church staff person starting in a new place, may God bless you and your church(es) in your new ministry together.
Thanks for looking!