1. Pray for your search committee.
- Pray for patience. Pray that the committee would wait upon God’s timing. Pray that your search committee will have the mind of Christ and agree.
- Much of the process is subjective. Personal opinions and preferences are involved. Differences can divide. Ask that the search committee would heed Paul’s advice for unity, having the humble attitude of Jesus Christ .
- Pray for wisdom to choose the right man. Pray the search committee will renew their minds in the Bible so that they can have Word-centered wisdom .
- Pray for discipline for your search committee and other church leaders. The search process will require a great deal of follow-through on the parts of individuals.
2. Pray for your next pastor.
- Pray that God would increase his passion for the Word of God.
- Pray that God would give him a love for you church and the strength to leave his current position.
- Pray that he would begin new relationships at your church in the right way.
- Pray that God would prepare him to shepherd your church through the trials and blessings he has faced and currently faces.
- Pray for his family.
3. Pray for your church.
- Pray for patience. The search process can go longer than expected. It is hard work for those doing the search process. Pray for trust in the leadership.
- Pray that your church would learn to place a high priority on the Word of God, the glory of Christ, and a love for His church. It is easy to gravitate towards personality, programs, or an ideal when calling a new pastor. Pray we focus on what matters: a man who loves Christ, His Word, and His church. Pray the new pastor will be a man of Christ-like character.
- Pray that your church would not react to your previous pastor. You will not get a pastor like your old one, nor should you expect to. Pray he will be loved by your church.
Adapted from When the Word Leads Your Pastoral Search. By Chris Brauns. Moody Publishers, Chicago, IL. 2011. Pgs. 28-31.
I remember well the day that I started in ministry as a pastor at my first church. It was both an exciting day and a daunting day. We always are excited about starting any new endeavor in life and certainly being a pastor in a new town and in a new church is no exception. I remember pulling into the parking lot of the church and because I had not yet been given keys to the building, I had to wait until other staff people arrived. I remember it gave me time to pause and to think. Many thoughts went through my head and I asked myself questions like, “how will I fit in here? Will the people accept me? How will my wife be accepted by other women in the church? What truly is expected of me?” I am sure there were other questions too but as I sat there I remember thinking how awesome it is to be called by a church to lead them but also how lonely it can feel.
Well that was a number of years ago and thinking back on that moment has made me very thankful for the brothers and sisters in Christ that have not only welcomed me but made me feel like part of the family at my church. There are many little things that I could point to that made me feel this way but this article will be an attempt in telling you 5 ways that I truly felt welcomed as a pastor and maybe these are things that you can do to help welcome your own new pastor.
Being Invited To Things
This one may sound simple but when you are the new person in town (and I was in a very small town) you often don’t know the culture yet that your are dealing with. For example, I was called into a small farming community and there are things that happen in a farming community that are far different than being a pastor in a larger city. I remember being invited to a local FFA (Future Farmers of America) auction and not really knowing what to expect. It was held at the high school and I expected to walk into a small gathering of maybe a couple hundred of people but when I got there it seemed that most of the town was there. You see this was not just a fundraiser to raise money for some farm kids but rather a way of life in this community. You didn’t even need to have any connection to farming to be part of this event. I remember being there and realizing and understanding that this is a big event to these people. Other examples are less grand in scale but still very important. Just being invited over for dinner or to meet someone for lunch is important in getting to know people and to start to develop some friendships that will not only help you in ministry but help you to feel wanted in the town.
Pray For Your New Pastor and Tell Him That You Are Praying
There is something that is so reassuring to know that other people are specifically praying for you. This is encouraging for at least 2 reasons. First, it is so encouraging to know that there is spiritual maturity in this new flock of people in that they are praying for you. And second, it is nice to know that these new people care and love you enough to pray to God for you. Both of these reasons will be important to your new pastor.
Related reading: 6 Prayers For Pastors or Leaders
Love Him And Honor His Family
This can be done in so many ways. It is good to be reminded that when your new pastor arrives his family also arrives with him. This can be terrifying for both the pastor’s spouse and also for any children that they may have. They probably have relocated to a new place and job that will have many eyes watching them. Love them all and show them that you accept them. One way to show this love early is in their transition to your area. Many churches think they are helping the new pastor in the relocation process but fall short. Help them physically move into their new parsonage or house. This just doesn’t mean to invite the youth group over to cart things in for an hour but have people there that are not only physically capable but also willing to go the extra mile. Have people there to not only carry the bed into the bedroom but to be willing to put the bed together, the mirrors on the dressers…you know what I mean. This should also include helping them out with meals not only for a night or two but really help smooth out this transition.
Don’t Compare Your New Pastor To The Last Pastor
Even if you are saying things in a positive way it is not good to be comparing one pastor to another. Each pastor brings their own set of spiritual gifts and abilities that God has given them to this job of shepherding the local church. Embrace that and don’t compare them outwardly as it can bring in some unhealthy expectations.
Tell Your New Pastor Your Name Often
This is especially important in a church with more than a hundred people. Your new pastor wants to be able to remember your name but joining a church with 200 or more people is difficult especially in the first few months. This may seem like a little thing but it will help your pastor not only remember you but to make them feel at ease as they learn many names and faces.
There are obviously many more things that I could list but these might get you started. If you have never moved into a new job or area where you don’t know anybody this may be hard to understand but the first few months of a new pastor is often filled with many difficulties and challenges. I have been at my current church for just over 6 years and some of the people that went out of their way early in my arrival have become some of my closest friends and fellow servants in my ministry. We all desire to feel loved and wanted and your new pastor is no different. Go out of your way to let him/her know that you are truly thankful that they are there to pastor your church. You will bless them by doing this.
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