|by Michael Watkins|
A couple of years ago I read the book the First 90 Days. Michael Watkins unpacked the important considerations for a manager moving into a new leadership position. Today I'd like to offer my own suggestions for a new pastor.
With over 20 years of experience as a senior pastor and almost a decade in ministry-equipping academia, I have often reflected on the most important first considerations for a new pastor. The first great task of the Church is to fulfill God's command to take the Gospel to the world. Coupled with that is the mandate to bring those who come to faith into Christian maturity. In light of these two priorities, what are the most important first steps for a pastor to take when he begins work with a new congregation?
1. Clarify expectations. A new pastor needs the church to be clear about what he expects from them, and clear on what they expect from him. The lack of understanding and clarity on the front end has created unnecessary difficulties for way too many churches and pastors.
2. Encourage the church family to embrace their responsibility to invite lost and unchurched people in their spheres of influence to join them for worship. The most effective outreach for any church is the satisfied member who cares about the people inside their circle of influence.
3. Study the church and seek the Lord to know what messages need to be preached. Even as Jesus had a specific word to and for each congregation addressed in Revelation 2 and 3, He has a special Word to each congregation today.
4. Challenge each member to take seriously their role in the church. This would include encouragement to be faithful in their daily devotions, witness, character development, stewardship, and consistency. Each member is either building up or tearing down the Body of Christ (the Church) by their attitudes, actions, behaviors, participation, and words. Personal responsibility must be taken seriously!
5. Be diligent to ensure that the necessary infrastructure is in place to effectively support the ministries of the congregation. Without the supporting team, any organization can collapse under its own weight.
6. Ask yourself and the church tough questions. For each congregation, the questions must be asked:
- What does God want us to be and to do?
- How are we gifted to fulfill the will of God in our locale?
- In what areas does God want us to minister and serve?
- What does God want to accomplish through us in this time and place?
- What potential does God want to birth into reality here and now?
- How can we effectively cooperate in fulfilling the Great Commission in our generation?
- What does God want to do in our midst that will help the watching world know that God is real?
These are the six steps I think are critical for the first 90 days in the pastorate. What do you think? Do you have anything to add to the list?