- Pastors.com is promoting the free eBook this week and SermonCentral.com has reposted my Top 10 Mistakes by a Rookie Pastor post.
- A Youth Ministry veteran on what it takes to survive long term.
- Last week I decided I needed to know what my students were talking about and I read The Hunger Games. Well I ended up reading all three this week. Good story that obviously draws you in, but I thought the ending was a little lazy. What did you think?
- Jon Acuff with a quick test for your blog/book/song.
- “Pain has a way of making you honest” – Rob Bell
- Once again Skye Jethani makes you think: Chrstianism leads to Atheism.
- A Rookie Pastor should always be recruiting volunteers here are few ways to change the process up a bit.
- There’s no such thing as leaving well.
- Rachel Held Evans is a great writer who pushes the conversation in Christianity in a healthy way. I shared part one of why she left the church and I had some pushback from those in the Rookie Pastor community. I wasn’t agreeing with everything she put forth but we have to be able to listen. Here is why she came back.
- Short one today, hopefully like a lot of you I’ve got things to do before Easter. Let’s bring it, the tomb is empty so act like it.
You don’t have to be miserable, in fact you should love being a pastor.
As we roll out our church’s new website we are doing video bios for the staff. To spice things up our Creative Arts Pastor decided to have each staff member say something funny and serious about every other staff member and then edit these into our self introductions. Good idea that I’ll link to once it goes public.
His about me was that I get the Lost references he makes, hence “Not Penny’s Boat” written on my hand.
It was fun to make. It will be fun for our community.
Truth proclaimed. Salvation explored. Discipleship pursued. Community fostered.
Fun had and joy experienced.
If you aren’t having fun, I wonder if your community is?
When was the last time you had fun being a pastor?
Love that we are getting a female perspective here at RP and love even more that my Twitter friend Emily Case is contributing. You can read other Rookie Pastor Work Flows here, and if you are interested in contributing let me know.
The toughest part of the workflow for me is that at the end of every day, every month, every year the list of “undone” seems bigger than the list of done. I try to make to-do lists. I try to put things on my calendar. But, the more I try to plan my days, weeks, minutes, hours—the more behind I get. The more experienced clergy tell us not to worry about it, and I’m working on that. But its not easy.
So, do I have a typical workflow?—sure, but it never works as smoothly as it seems!
On Sundays, I help lead services in the morning and I visit/run youth, children’s, and college ministries in the evening. I get in the office early Monday morning to do paperwork, catch up with the staff, go to meetings, visits, and wave to the preschool before a 1:00 pm Jazzercize class. I try to take the afternoon to rest and run errands and am usually back in the office by 5 for an evening meeting. Tuesdays-Thursdays I do other things—newsletter articles, meetings, write sermons, pray, lead Bible Studies, do administrative work, pray, hospital visits, college campus visits, and more. I also try to take one of those days off. Fridays, my senior pastor is off, so I normally go to Jazzercize early, then the hospital, to be ready for college/young adult ministry by 3:30. I try to always have Friday nights off. Saturday mornings vary, but by 2 pm we are setting up for our Saturday night service. We are done, cleaned up and off to post-service dinner by about 8:30 pm. Then it starts all over again!
This is part 1 of a blog series called Finding a Church Job.
You have concluded that being a pastor in the local church is all you can do. If you haven’t stop and read this before you go any further.
Likely that you are in one of two scenarios:
- A student finishing up their degree looking to jump into the church.
- Moving from corporate to church.
In both instances it can be easy to idealize paid ministry. Paid ministry is awesome but it isn’t easy. With that said, how do you find said church job?
Starting online makes a lot of sense. Remember that is the place to start not the place to finish. When you buy a home you start online but then you go look at the place and walk around because everyone makes the property look and sound better online. Same thing with a church job, and most people on Facebook.
Church job boards like churchstaffing.com and others have some great opportunities at healthy churches, but for the most part churches post these jobs because they haven’t been able to find someone from their personal contacts. Posting a job online is a last resort.
Best thing about online ministry job boards are that you can get an understanding of a process that is often confusing and intimidating for Rookies. Standard fare like titles, experience, education, and maybe even compensation packages listed add clarity as to what churches are looking for. Just like “charming” means small in a real estate ad there are code words to decipher.
You can jump into the larger conversation on the importance of seeking criticism in ministry here.
Being criticized in ministry is an emotional experience. To be honest it hurts.
You have been called to communicate God’s love with you life and someone takes a shot at how you are doing it. The stages of grief are experienced.
Denial: “they don’t know what they are talking about.”
Anger: “how dare they say that to me.”
Bargaining: “at least I am doing something.”
Depression: “I’ve always thought I would be a good used car salesman.”
In some order these are the things I experience when I am criticized. Sometimes I get to the last step of acceptance, but most of the time I am still on the way. These emotions are very real and need to be dealt with, but while we are experiencing them we aren’t growing from the criticism. For healthy leadership to occur we need to be able to step back and learn from the criticism. You have to be able to step away from the emotion.
Talk and listen to someone on the outside.
- Spoke with a friend who works in the Christian Relief realm about Jason Russell and his apparent “break” over the weekend and just how sad this whole thing is. He said something that caught my attention: “never again will we see something that blew up so fast and fell apart so fast.” Do the hard work on your inner life because that thing you think you have hidden is just waiting for the right combination of stress and pride and opportunity to emerge.
- Sent this to my team of student ministry volunteers.
- Haven’t caught March Madness this year as compared to year’s past, but watching Robbie Hummel and Boilers almost pull off the upset against Kansas was one of those moments. Thanks #4.
- Another clip on from the Elephant Room, this one on when to fire a pastor for moral failure.
- Thanks to everyone who picked up a copy of my eBook 30 in 30. If you want it on Kindle you can pick it up here, also would appreciate some reviews.
- Are you ready for Easter?
- Reading Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton I don’t read a lot of fiction so biographies are how I add some variety. Incredible how one man could be present and involved in so many pivotal moments in the forming of this country.
- I don’t think Peter ever turned to John and said: “that’ll preach.” If you don’t live the story you can’t tell the story. (may be a full post on this later.)
- Don’t live up to the stereotypes, if you are a youth pastor you need to figure out professional development.
- The easy/hard way to be a better writer.
- How do you know when it is time to leave?
Great content here, especially around the idea of ministry being hampered by church programs. I believe strongly in the simplicity of church ministry and the empowerment of others to minister.
To be honest I don’t run in The Gospel Coalition crowd and some of the conversation about the Culture Wars feels outdated but I have a lot of respect for Keller and Chandler and think that every pastor needs to work through the questions they raiser here.
Simplicity is something that has to be fought for because as Chandler says we “drift to complexity”. Love the yellow lights concept.
What do you think about this?
Love that my eBook 30 in 30: How to Start and Restart Well is now available and I love that so many of you have been able to read it.
Even if you aren’t interested in the Kindle version if you liked 30 in 30 would you be willing to review the book on Amazon? Good reviews are key to how Amazon recommends new books. If this resource has been an encouragement and a help to you a nice review would be appreciated.
Buy and review 30 in 30 on Amazon here.
Happy to have Matt Steen contribute to the Rookie Pastor Work Flow series. Matt is a pastor turned consultant that has a ton of wisdom and resources on church leadership and planting. Check out his work at churchthought.com and share the goodness with your tribe.
Do you have a typical workflow?
I start my day reading. Scripture, blog posts, news, and whatever else is on my kindle starts my day. I typically will have my first meetings of the day starting at 10:00 am, and try not to schedule any for after 4:00 pm. After 4:00, my energy level tanks for a few hours. I find that I do some of my best writing later in the evening, so it is not uncommon for me to be cranking out a blog post at 10:00 pm. Because my schedule is highly dependent on what my clients need me to be doing, and who I am working with at that time, there really is no set workflow, but a rhythm will generally develop as I dig into the work that I am doing with a particular client.
What tasks do you (or do you wish you did) delegate to others?
Since Church Simple is still a pretty small organization I handle most things myself. At some point it would be nice to have someone handle some of the paperwork, administrative nonsense, and some scheduling… but for now it is mostly manageable.
What tools, apps, etc. do you use the most to get things done?
This is decidedly old school, but I have a small ecosystem notebook that I use to capture ideas. Every electronic device that I have ever attempted to use to capture ideas has been a dismal failure. About three years ago I finally swallowed my pride and acknowledged this fact and started carrying my notebook and a pen everywhere I go. I use this notebook to take notes, capture ideas for blog posts, or clarify my thinking on a subject.
As for apps and such:
- I am a big fan of Expensify for my expense reporting (seriously, go get it).
- Evernote has allowed me to go virtually paperless (minus the notebook). I use this to save all my important documents, contracts, and anything of interest that I see online. The beauty of Evernote is that I can access it on my computer, my phone, or via the web… I am never without the documents that I need.
- If you travel, TripIt is a phenomenal resource for keeping you aware of your travel schedule, and everything related to it. Flight information, rental car info, and directions to your hotel in one place? Yes, Please!
- I am also addicted to DoubleTwist. I use this to listen to podcasts… for a $5 upgrade, you can have podcasts download directly to your phone. This has changed my life.
What do you do/Where do you go when you need to get creative?
It depends on the situation:
- If I just need to get out of my office for a few hours of writing, I will find alternative offices: a local coffee shop (I know, I’m original), an area church’s empty conference room, or a local library.
- If I am needing some time to soak on things, wrestle through decisions, or figure out how best to advise a client I have been known to wander in my vegetable garden, a local park, or somewhere near the water.
- If I am needing a little more extended time for planning, writing, or wrestling through decisions I will get a couple of days away. Typically I will get a cheap hotel room on Priceline or hangout at a monastery.
I find that when I am having a difficult time getting creative I need space and solitude in order to fully engage in the work that I am doing.
This is part 1 of a blog series called Finding a Church Job.
Could you do something else?
Seriously, if you had to pay bills and provide for your family how many different ways could you do it?
If you can do anything else and find fulfillment, don’t get into ministry. The numbers of so pastors who start as pastors but don’t retire as pastors are staggering and they aren’t all due to a moral failure. At least in part, this is due to pastors who went down that path not because it was their only option, but it was an option.
Only get into ministry if it is the only thing you can do.
Before you even finalize your resume you have to answer this question.