This is part of a blog series that has 30 practical tips for the pastor looking to start or restart well. You can get the entire series as a Kindle book. The landing page will be updated with each new post.
Pay Attention and Listen
This one is similar to #2, but it highlights something that pastors struggle with: being quiet.
It doesn’t matter what your title is or how much authority you have people are sizing you up. My first ministry was in a small town and I lived in the church parsonage. One of my first days I went to the local diner for lunch and the waitress I didn’t know looked at me and said: “I hear you’re getting married.” Another time I left the basement lights on for a night and the next Sunday people were asking me what I was working on and if I was going to change the house.
Coming to a new church is an interesting sociological experience. Those people that aggressively seek you out are trying to impress you or gauge where you stand for a conversation down the road. So even though you have to take what they say with a grain of salt what they tell you is informative.
In those first 30 days you can quickly figure out what the past scars are and what agendas people are pushing. To do this though you have to be willing to be quiet and listen.
Being quiet will also help you avoid accidentally committing to something you will regret later on. If you can condition those you lead early on to not expect you to be a people pleaser you won’t have to change the expectation when you realize it isn’t viable.
Finally you will communicate to people that you value them and what they have to say.
It isn’t hard, just shut-up.