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The First Few Days

While the Dems have been taking control of Congress, I've been taking Richmond by storm.

After spending around 19 straight years in school, I finally was confronted with the real world. I love school and studying but towards the end it was wearing me down. You can only talk and think while taking little action for so long. Theory needed to be supplemented by action.

I honestly had and still have no idea what to expect. Living in a new city, buying a home for the first time, and serving as a full-time pastor on a multi-staff team are all brand new experiences for me. The scheduled and regimented world of class, tests, and grades to objectively assess performance have been a source of comfort and normality that has been completely thrown out.

What now? Well, I've learned a few things about pastoral life in my first two weeks:

1. Names, Names, Names. Unfortunately for me, they tend to go in one ear and out the other. I definitely am not gifted in this area. I think learning names reveals that you care so I'm very committed to it but it's VERY difficult. Anyone know a good trick?

2. People love you when you start. Who knows how long the honeymoon will last but everyone has been extremely supportive and welcoming. I truly feel loved and that people want us to be around.

3. No more nights. I have just completed my fourth night out in a row. Monday was board meeting. Tuesday was Pastor's meeting with new Conference President. Wednesday was prayer meeting. Thursday was school board meeting. It's not a big deal since Shari isn't working yet but if she was working a 9-5 I wouldn't have see her until 9 every night.

4. Scheduling. I'm so used to having my schedule be laid out for me. Class schedules have ruled my life for years but now I don't have that. I really have to be disciplined with my time and make sure that I maximize the time Shari will be at work so when we're both home, we can have quality time together.

5. Speaking, Speaking, and More Speaking. Half of your job is about sermons, worship talks, and Bible studies. Worship services, board meetings, prayer meetings, pastor's Sabbath School all demand some sort of talk or lesson. How am I going to keep the well from running dry?


Ryan Bell said…
You're on to some really important stuff here, Trevan. The challenges don't cease after 10+ years. Pastoral ministry is a balancing act and a constant process of determining priorities. This is why it's so important (and so rare) for pastors to have their own issues in hand - working with a spiritual director, practicing spiritual disciplines, daily office. For me, learning to say no to good things is a continual challenge.
Anonymous said…
Discovering (through lots of pain) that pastoral ministry is art, rather than technique or production, came a little too late for my first parish. That realization was my big breakthrough that allowed me to thrive at my 2nd church.

I wish you life-saving breakthroughs.
j said…
Trevan, this is all very exciting yeah?

Of course you know you've got a lot of people interested in you and your success and you should call on them for support and conversation.

I was going to try and say something thoughtful but Julius and Ryan were like spot on so just know you are in the thoughts of many persons who care about you.


I suppose I could say that in ministry you have no greater ally than your spouse and to keep her close and happy but that is sort of a given yeah?
Anonymous said…
All the best, I'm trying to think back to when I started 5 years ago... I've put some tips (tongue firmly in cheek) on my own blog!
kumardixit said…

Welcome to the world of ministry. It is a tough balance, especially when your work is your passion. There is very little accountability in ministry, in fact, it seems at time that you are rewarded for working long days, nights, and weekends. I was mentioning to a collegue today, that we should get paid time in a half on weekends. My most important advice is not to work four nights a week. The church will have an attitude that since you don't have kids, you don't have any thing better to do, so you have free time. They must learn very early into the honeymoon that free time doesn't involve church week - rather being home 3-4 nights a week shows you respect your wife and family time. I won't work more than 3 nights in one week, and it has been very healthy. peace,
JDavidNewman said…
I will comment on one area: remembership names. Names are so important to people. Not only do I work on memorizing the adult names I also memorize the children's names. We have over 800 adults and kids at New Hope so this is quite a challenge. One of the best ways is to take pictures. I make up my own pictorial directory and when I have my morning devotions I don;t just pray over names but i pray over faces. It makes a big difference

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