After a season of dating and getting to know one another, the question has finally been asked and a relationship goes to deeper intimacy. Mutual commitments have been made and now a new life together begins.
I’m not talking about a marriage here,I’m talking about a church hiring a new pastor.
What should we expect? How do we navigate the potential challenges in a new relationship with a new pastor? The arrival of a new pastor is exciting but also challenging. On one hand, we should expect the new pastor to learn how to adjust to our congregation and get to know us. But what we may not realize is that a congregation also needs to prepare.
Over the next few weeks, we will be discussing how we can prepare for a new pastor.
One of the biggest challenges a pastor needs to navigate is his relationship with his congregation. How can we make the effort to build a new relationship with a new pastor? Here are some ideas:
1.Expect Change. It may seem like an obvious thing, but sometimes we don’t realize it’s harder to change than we think. Some things won’t change. Our church is still committed to preaching the gospel and raising disciples. But a new pastor means a new vision and direction. There will be things that the pastor may want to add. There may be things the pastor will want to change. It is working with the consistory where we can see how the church can grow.
2.It takes time.It takes time for people to grow and know how to interact with one another. This is no less true than a pastor’s relationship with the congregation. A pastor’s job is to spiritually lead the congregation and explain the Bible. In the beginning, the pastor can lead in the sermons in a general sort of way. But it takes time for a pastor to understand the relationship dynamics within a congregation. Not only that, but the pastor and his family also must adjust to a move and a new community.
3.Make an effort to personally get to know the pastor.Many people expect the pastor to find them and search them out. But if won’t hurt for you to seek the pastor out yourself. Many pastors admit to loneliness. The pastor is someone who is supposed to be a Spiritual mentor and refuge. Try allowing the pastor to not just be your pastor, but be himself as well. For the health of the church, the pastor cannot tell you everything, but it’s good to know that there are people who are willing to pray for him and his family.
4.Avoid the temptation to gossip.Be careful about the information you give to a new pastor. The things we say to a pastor about other people color and influence their perspective of a person. 5.Temper your expectations.The pastor does have a minimum of things that the church should expect. The pastor should be faithful in his work, maintain a healthy spiritual life, preach the gospel weekly, and raise disciples. But we cannot expect the pastor to be Jesus. The pastor will have flaws.
6.Don’t compare.No two pastors are alike. Some pastors are good planners, but can be inflexible. Some have big visions, but need help in executing them. Whoever the church hires, he will not be the same pastoras the previous one. Nor will he have the same gifts. 7.Remember: This is God’s Church.Without a doubt, a pastorhas a great deal of influence over the direction of a church. But never doubt that Christ is the head of the church. He watches over it and cares for it intimately (Rev. 2-3). Hiring a new pastorwill not remove our problems. But we believe that God can bring himself glory in all circumstance