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Begin As You Mean To Go On

Long-term ministries have great potential for churches and pastors. I'm passionate about them and want to help pastors stay in it to win it, but every long-term ministry starts as a short-term ministry. The old guy was once the new guy! Charles Spurgeon said, "Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you." I think this is good advice! 

My original plan for BGCC was 5 years and now I’m getting ready to celebrate 17! I used to ask others about where things were at the church, now everyone asks me. I used to collect stories about the history of the church, now I'm the one who shares them. One of my favorite roles at church is coaching young potential pastors. I love welcoming interns to our staff so they can check out ministry and decide if it’s for them. I love helping them discern their strengths and areas for growth as a pastor. 

They often want to know what do I love about my job? They want to know if the things I do appeals to them. So here's my list if you're thinking about becoming a new minister and need some details to consider. Here are a few things I love about ministry in my present context...

  1. Being present for life-changing moments in people's lives
  2. Doing something different every day
  3. Studying the Bible
  4. Reading theological books and contemporary cultural articles
  5. Preaching
  6. The collegiality among our staff and elders
  7. Working with other churches and ministries for our city
  8. A flexible schedule/work location
  9. Being creative and leading a creative team in new approaches to ministry
  10. Developing and coaching new leaders
  11. Working in the energy of a college town
  12. The diversity of denominational backgrounds of our congregants
  13. Our commitment to pursuing God...even if it's in a new way
  14. Praying
  15. Having professional obligation to talk about Jesus

If these things appeal to you, then perhaps ministry could be a good fit for you. I say "perhaps" because there is more to ministry than a job description. There is a sense of call and a need for a good fit. The good fit comes from having some key personal character traits needed for ministry...

  1. Don’t take yourself too seriously 
  2. Be flexible, plans with people change 
  3. Love people 
  4. Want to study - a learner is a leader 
  5. Be curious...ask questions!
  6. Understand the importance of a team 
  7. Be able to take criticism
  8. Be quick to apologize
  9. Know how to prioritize tasks
  10. Be okay with leaving things undone
  11. Embrace "good enough" - perfection is a myth
Some of these things may come naturally, others you'll have to work at! You will need proficiency in these areas. For example, you can't take yourself too seriously in the church! Half of my job is apologizing for something that's not my fault! (Not something everyone is suited for...) Also, people are ministry! If you are so introverted that you can't make need a different line of work (maybe IT?). I'm an introvert by nature, but have learned to function as an extrovert. It can be a little draining, especially after a big Sunday, but it's worth it. 

If this post has made you hungry for more then ministry might be a good fit for you! Pray about it. Talk to your pastor about their experience in ministry. Ask your family and friends if they think you'd be a good fit. Together you, God, and those close to you will help you discern the right path. You can also check out my other posts for new pastors and those considering being new pastors!