I’ve been meaning to write this post for a bit, just haven’t been blogging too much so I haven’t gotten around to it…
If you’re like the average Children’s Pastor – then after you’ve been in ministry for a bit you’ve had the opportunity to learn from several different Pastors that you have served under. I know from personal experience that not all partings go well – but even in the difficult transitions there is something to be learned. If you’re willing to sort through your personal feelings I’m willing to bet that each Sr. Pastor you’ve worked for has taught you something. I decided it was time to summarize a bit of what I’ve learned over the years – writing it down as much for myself as for anybody else.
I’ll refrain from using specific names of Pastors and churches, just in case someone doesn’t appreciate being on the list…but I promise I’m only saying nice things.
The first church I served at was small – I started there a month after a big split. The congregation had gone from 350 to 75 in a very short time. My Sr. Pastor was in his first Sr. Pastor role and had been given a very hard place to minister from. From him I learned the value of team – we were a very close group. Adversity made us that way out of necessity – when faced with difficult times you can either wither and die or fight to thrive. We did the later. In the 2 years I served there we more than doubled in size. Thankfully he’s still the Pastor of that church. Ever since I left that church I have looked for a place where the pastoral team was as close in relationship.
The second place I served was in a small town – can I tell you, in the year I was there I learned I am not a small town guy. My pastor was a caring man who loved people. I was full of myself, headstrong, and obnoxious (some of you think that hasn’t changed, but it has…) I tried his patience more than once and tested the limits of what I could get away with. He gave me grace – more than I deserved. He taught me to love people and to Pastor them. He loved his church – he loved the people – he loved what he did. He was a great example of how a pastor should care for his church.
The third church I served at was in the beautiful state of California. It was my first exposure to a church that had a Sr. Pastor who was focused on developing strong leaders. My pastor had done something that spoke deeply of his desire to see others succeed – he built a strong team of volunteers and he invested in them regularly. He didn’t just limit it to a select few – he wanted to see everyone grow as a leader. He taught me the value of investment in others. As proof of his investment; when he left that church – they functioned for over a year without a Sr. Pastor – and even saw growth through that time.
The fourth church I served at was also in California. I doubt I will ever serve at a church that has the same focus on being driven by the Spirit. That Pastor wanted one thing – to pursue the presence of the Father. He taught me the value of being more than just open to the presence and actually pursuing the presence. The church he pastors loves God, worships with their whole heart, and lives daily in the Presence of the Father.
The church I am currently serving (been here 6 weeks) will be a whole new learning experience – but I believe that this will be a place where I will learn to walk out all the things I have been learning over the years. My Pastor is focused, driven, loves people and the Spirit of God – I know this is the place that God has been preparing me for. Sometimes we don’t always understand the journey getting here – but if we stop to take a look we can find the truth God has taken us through to get us to the place we are.
So how about you? What have you learned? How does it serve you now?