So You’re Starting At A New Place . . . 7 Critical Actions To Ensure You Thrive In Your New Role

So You’re Starting At A New Place . . . 7 Critical Actions To Ensure You Thrive In Your New Role

By Joseph Bennett

Picture this: You wake up, you’re in a new house, you’re in a new town, your kids are starting a new school, your wife is starting a new job, and you’re all getting used to a new routine.

On top of all that, you’re beginning a new position at a new church.

God has called you to a new place, and your first thought is, “Where should I start? There’s so much to do. Should I visit everyone in my church? Should I make a laundry list of phone calls? Should I have a yearly planning meeting?” It seems overwhelming. 

Oh, and guess what…Sunday is coming. 

If you’re in this season of life right now, I want to provide you with some helpful tips and reminders for your journey.

1 – Make your calendar your best friend. 

As a pastor starting at a new place, many people will want to know you and spend time with you. There will be church events to attend and people to visit. All of those things are good things! But having a host of commitments always reminds me of Mark Batterson’s wise words, “If you don’t control your calendar, your calendar will control you.”

What gets scheduled gets done, and what doesn’t get scheduled gets left behind. So, while you can definitely make time for the things I mentioned above, you also need to allow for sermon preparation, family time, and regular date nights with your spouse. Believe it or not, all of those things are important for the health of your ministry. 

What gets scheduled gets done, and what doesn’t get scheduled gets left behind. So, while you can definitely make time for the things I mentioned above, you also need to allow for sermon preparation, family time, and regular date nights with your spouse. Believe it or not, all of those things are important for the health of your ministry. 

2 – Get to know key people of influence in your church and community. 

In almost every church, there are key players who make things move (in both a positive and negative direction). But who are they? If you’re standing around talking with people at your church and they keep looking at a person or saying their name when they’re not around, then it’s a sure-fire clue that the person they’re mentioning is influential. Take time to get to know that person. Schedule a time to meet with them. Ask them about their story and what they love about their church. 

There may also be some people in your community who don’t go to your church but would be worthwhile to get to know. As pastors, we should desire to make an impact in our surrounding community. Think about the local grocery store manager, the town mayor, or a doctor who has significant influence in your community. Offer to take them to lunch so you can share with them your heart. This relationship could be beneficial to you and your church in the future. 

3 – Embrace the honeymoon. 

For newlyweds, the honeymoon is the most exciting week of their lives after saying the big “I do.” It’s a time for intentional conversation, focused quality time together, and preparing for a whole new way of life. 

As a pastor starting at a new church, this “honeymoon” season is fun and exciting. You set up your office, create fresh rhythms, and update your goals. There are so many ideas and experiences coming at you. 

Take things one day at a time, but embrace the honeymoon phase. It’s a time when it’s okay to make some mistakes and not have it all figured out. There are going to be many things that you’re unsure of at first. There will be names that you don’t know, systems you haven’t learned, and much more. This season has its stresses, but it’s a sweet time of ministry that doesn’t last long, so embrace it and the grace it offers you to settle in.

This season has its stresses, but it’s a sweet time of ministry that doesn’t last long, so embrace it and the grace it offers you to settle in. 

4 – Become a history buff. 

Many churches have significant histories of how God did amazing things or how the church greatly impacted its surrounding community. On the flip side, there are numerous churches whose history is not as glamorous. Perhaps there was a church split, a pastor’s moral failure, or other issues you may not have been aware of. 

To know where you’re going in the future, you need to know where you’ve been in the past. Learn from the past, make a point to avoid repeating the same mistakes, and get excited about the future. 

To know where you’re going in the future, you need to know where you’ve been in the past. Learn from the past, make a point to avoid repeating the same mistakes, and get excited about the future. 

5 – Give yourself some grace. 

Someone once told me that when we’re in a season of transition, we seek a sense of belonging. We all want to feel part of something greater than ourselves. We want to feel known, understood, and like we’re making an impact. We want to have a place that feels like home. 

When you’re in a time of transition, make sure you’re clear about where you are in the process. If you’re in the planning and preparing stage, are you making realistic expectations about your future? While you’re going through transition, do you feel disengaged and withdrawn from all of your interactions? Maybe you struggled with saying goodbye to your friends or loved ones at your last church. You might be grieving the things you left behind. You may even feel like your world is chaotic and spinning too fast.

On the other hand, the transition might be more exciting. You’re eager to watch and listen to what’s happening around you or look for a new mentor to help you learn the ropes. You’re looking forward to gaining new skills and reaching out to people. 

Wherever you are in the process, take time to reflect on your situation and give yourself and others some grace. Your church is also going through change with you as the new pastor. 

6 – Remember that God has called you. 

Many things will be thrown your way during this time, but don’t forget that God and God alone has called you here. He has gifted you, anointed you, and appointed you to be the shepherd of the flock at your new church. 

Don’t forget to spend time with Him as much as you can. Ministry can feel isolating, but remember God has not forsaken you, and He is your shield and strength. Lean into Him during the good times and the bad. He has a plan and purpose for your life! He has called you to do a great work! 

7 – Start new habits. 

That sounds daunting and exhausting in some ways, doesn’t it? Creating new habits isn’t an easy process, and it isn’t always the most appealing thing to do. However, you have the perfect opportunity to start fresh right now. Have you been avoiding the gym for a while? Have you been glued to your phone more than you should be? Do you just want to read more books? Whatever the case may be, this is a great time to implement new habits. 

In his book The One Thing, Gary Keller says, “People don’t decide their futures, they decide their habits, and their habits decide their futures.” 

I couldn’t agree more. Whatever goal you want to reach in life starts with minor changes in your daily habits. In the book Atomic Habits, James Clear says, “Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement.” 

If you want to be a better version of yourself, start some new habits. One of the best practices that any pastor can initiate is getting adequate sleep. Someone once told me that most bad decisions are made out of exhaustion. 

If you want to be a better version of yourself, start some new habits. One of the best practices that any pastor can initiate is getting adequate sleep. Someone once told me that most bad decisions are made out of exhaustion. 

Pastor, what you do is so important. Make sure you take small steps of improvement every day as you begin this new journey. Starting a new ministry is so exciting, and you will do a great job! Hopefully, these reminders will help you have a successful launch at your new church. Most of all, don’t forget you’re not alone. As a team at 95Network, we are here to help you stay healthy. Reach out to us if we can serve you and your team in any way!

Email Joseph at: Joseph@95Network.org

 

Be sure to stop by our 95Network.org/online store to find helpful resources designed to encourage and strengthen your ministry leadership.

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