Setting the tone, part I

One of the most crucial jobs of a pastor is setting the tone for the ministry he/she will do alongside the congregation: how will we work together toward God’s vision for this church? Two aspects of this task are preparation and self-management.

Creative Commons "Préparation des boules de pain" by Frédéric BISSON is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Creative Commons “Préparation des boules de pain” by Frédéric BISSON is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

A minister’s preparation eliminates as many unpleasant surprises and as much negativity as possible on the front end of conversations, committee meetings, and processes, while still leaving room for the Holy Spirit to work. This groundwork includes:

  • Doing your homework. What details do you need going in? Where can you find them?
  • Getting the right people in the room. Who should be involved so that key people know what is happening, there is buy-in, and tasks can be claimed by the people who have the skills and passion to carry them out?
  • Making the physical space work for you. How can the room be better arranged to help you accomplish your objectives? What visual or auditory cues will be conducive to your aims?
  • Having a sense of your trajectory. What process will you follow? What’s the timeline? How will you stay on track when a distraction or tangent pops up?
  • Following through. What steps will you take to assist people in honoring their commitments? How will you ask your church members to hold you accountable?

Above all, preparation involves communication with God – speaking and listening – through whatever spiritual discipline best suits your personality, learning style, and faith history. You are working on God’s behalf. Let God empower and guide you.

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