Have you been named pastor of your first church and you don’t know where to start? Are you wondering if the congregation will accept a woman as pastor? Are you trying to read up on what the pastor of a church should do?
You have come to the right place. I’m going to show you three things to do that will get your pastorate off to a great start. Forging new church relationships can be dicey. There is pressure to align with one group over another. As a new pastor everyone will be vying for your attention. There are many people who want their egos massaged. From the moment you are named pastor you will receive an abundance of advice from those inside your new church as well as from those outside of it. In fact you will receive so much free advice you won’t know what to do first.
However, if you will concentrate on the following three things, you will be well on your way to making your first year as pastor a success.
- Be Real – Display who you really are. Let your real personality shine through. You may have thoughts of what a pastor should act like. Someone who is somber. A serious person whose every sentence has a religious tone. Remember – You are now the pastor. If you weren’t somber acting before you got the church, don’t change your personality and be somber now. If you like to laugh and have never met a stranger, keep doing what you are doing. Don’t be a phony. Be your real self.
- Be Respectful – Even if your views clash with board members, don’t alienate people. State your opinions without being angry. Don’t talk down to your parishioners. Do not be a dictator. Definitely don’t fuss at them and throw tantrums. You can disagree without being disagreeable. As women we are conciliators. If you have opposing viewpoints, suggest a compromise. Or try a suggestion for a month or two. If it doesn’t achieve the desired result, then implement another suggestion. You will have shown that you are willing to work with parishioners who have different views than you. Remember – You are now the pastor. You set the tone of how you will be treated. You set the tone of how you will be spoken to. You set the tone during your first few months of how the remainder of your pastorate will go. Always lead from the higher ground.
- Be Joyful – You have been given an opportunity that many want but few receive – Your Own Church. Display your joy and happiness. Let people see that you are glad to be pastor of your church. You don’t have to go around telling everyone that you are glad to be there. Show it in your actions and attitudes. Every time you step inside the door of the church try to remember the joy you felt when you first learned that you were selected as pastor. Your joy will be contagious. Go out of your way to spread joy as you get to know your parishioners. Display real interest in their joys and sorrows. If you want someone to do something, just ask. Keep in mind that the majority of your parishioners want you to succeed. They are rooting for you. And you, in turn, should root for them. Share great news about them. Don’t play favorites. You are pastor of the entire congregation.
Getting your first church is an exciting time. Everything you have worked for has come to pass. Your first months will set the tone of your pastorate. As you go about building relationships, let your parishioners see the real you. Talk to them respectfully and show that you value their opinions. Be enthusiastic and joyful about what you are called to do. Displaying these qualities will cause your parishioners to reward you with love, loyalty, and admiration.