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.
Don’t Commit to Anything
Right after the table has been cleared and dessert is being served the people that had you over to dinner are going to shift gears and start asking you about your plans. Be careful because landmines abound.
Part of having the pastor over is to try and figure him or her out. People want to know what you are “really” all about. More thank likely they have had negative experiences that they don’t want to relive and part of having you over is a defense mechanism.
So you say what you should say about wanting to present the Gospel to people in compelling ways and creating a place of life transformation, and all the other correct but general answers. Then as they start asking your opinions on things in terms of programs, styles, and priorities that of course you have opinions on, stop yourself from sharing them in this environment.
Remember that time back in school when you had to do the group project with the class know-it-all? Well, as soon as you start spouting off your opinions you become that annoying kid who knew everything, even if you are right.
Two things are going to happen as a result of you commit to something in these initial conversations.
- You are going to say what they didn’t want to hear and they will write you off and at best be skeptical and at worst oppose you.
- You say what they want to hear which may work out. It might also blow up in your face when a few months later you realize that what you had said won’t work in this context.
Not much good comes from committing to something specific.
Enjoy the pie, ask a lot of questions and listen.