Monday Morning Quick Hits

Josh —  June 11, 2012 — 1 Comment
  • And We’re back! Thanks for bearing with me as I had to put Rookie Pastor on the back burner the past few days. We hosted our own youth retreat and in the aftermath I have two thoughts: 1. I get to work with awesome students and adults. 2. Hosting an event is immensely harder than letting someone else host it.
  • Your ministry, your brand, your business is built on trust. Build it.
  • Seth Godin with a humorous and realistic look at how people succeed.
  • Don’t be the person who wants to be a writer, be a writer.
  • Challies on the state of preaching.
  • As a leader you need people around you. Understand who those people are and how they can help and how they can pull you down.
  • Prospective church planters. Church planting critics and skeptics. The church planting naive. All of you need to read this.
  • If you are distracted you were probably doing something good before. Go back to that.
  • Ben Arment tells you (and me) to quit following so many people.
  • In my mind I go from big event to big event. Whether it is ministry or life I don’t naturally think past the next big thing. Sunday afternoon the next big thing became the birth of my son. Here. We. Go.
  • Will that be smartphone or non-smartphone seating?
  • Humility. Hunger. Happiness. Rookie Pastors need all three.
  • Took today off work and the plan is to turn it into a finish day. Too many projects sitting in purgatory, time to hit publish.
  • We give small group stereotypes too much power.
  • Only responding to critics doesn’t fix problems.
  • Talking about “my legacy” means you have already lost.
  • Any story that mentions Andy Stanley next to Lady Gaga you read.

Freedom from Reactions

Josh —  June 6, 2012 — 3 Comments

On paper I knew I wanted to start well by being proactive and not reactive. Rookie Pastors don’t operate on paper, we operate in a messy reality full of variables called people. People that are looking to influence (or force) you into a decision or preferred action.

It usually starts out innocent enough. You get invited over for dinner or they stop by your office to chat. Sometimes motives aren’t pure and sometimes it just comes across that way. This reality is why we are so familiar with cynicism.

Being reactionary can even feel right. What do you know? You are the new leader on the scene without much experience. Plus you were brought in to fix things, to change culture anyway, right?

Continue Reading…

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.

Meet Other Pastors in the Area

I really don’t understand why churches don’t partner more often. I have seen how they don’t and observed the way pride has prevented me from collaborating, but it still doesn’t make sense. When you really consider it churches and pastors not having some sort of partnerships make drama among middle school girls look sophisticated.

One of your biggest challenges as you get settled in is to figure out the local culture. Every community has a specific rhythm, pace, and to some extent a specific set of values that are vital to understand.

The easiest shortcut to figuring some of these things out is to talk to those who have been living it. There will be some that give you the run around and won’t jump at the idea of talking to the new kid in town. Then there will be the majority that will be more than willing to talk, but just had to be asked.

Continue Reading…

May Recap

Josh —  June 4, 2012 — Leave a comment

Loved how last month I was able to connect with many of you through social media and email. Really appreciate the feedback and being given an opportunity to help. Here are some of my favorite posts from this past month.

Rookie Pastor, Rookie Dad

We are expecting our first child, a boy in the next month or so. I’m starting to get excited and a little scared. Realizing that life is going to get crazy once he gets here I’m looking for people to contribute something here.

If you are a dad and Rookie Pastor, send me your best piece advice on how you can balance both. Put something in the comments or send me an email josh(at)rookiepastor(dot)com.

Learn Without Circles

It is so easy to ignore someone just because they are outside of our approved circle. Imagine what we are missing out on.

Take a chance and trust yourself.

I Now Pronounce You

Everyone seems to have a reaction to the same sex marriage news of the last month, so this is mine but it probably isn’t what you would expect.

The other thing you can learn about this post is that sometimes people comment on posts without reading them and sometimes you write something you think is clear but isn’t.

Finding a Church Job

Finished up this blog series in May. Cover a lot of ground on this one and hopefully it helped a few folks out.

  • We all have secrets we don’t share. Secrets about our marriages, our kids, our critics…
  • Don’t keep the smartphone always within arm’s reach.
  • Have some fun, do something unexpected, and make a dent. What if church communication looked something like this?
  • References to PowerPoint in the newest Galaxy Note aren’t helping.Some truth on networking/social media/church.
  • Your email inbox is not a file cabinet. If you use Gmail some fun hacks.
  • They are commercialized and cheesy but I am a sucker for the Olympics.
  • Want to know why people visit your church’s website?
  • If you had to leave your pastoral position tomorrow would your community be able to move forward with Kingdom work? Don’t make it about you.
  • If you are about to plant a church or step into any kind of leadership role, read these 12 resolutions first. Learn from others and avoid the stupid tax.
  • Give yourself permission to not finish every book you start.
  • Working on the next Thursday blog series. How is your relationship with your Lead/Senior Pastor?
  • SmartReach and Donor Elf. Two promising new apps coming out that you should check out.
  • Rookie Pastor has an open submission policy because this isn’t about me. If you have an idea or a draft I’ll gladly take a look and if it fits it will get posted. Same goes for the general direction and content of this community. Let me know what you think, what you want to hear, and how we can help. josh(at)rookiepastor(dot)com

Life as a Pre-Rookie

Josh —  June 2, 2012 — Leave a comment

We all are at different stages. StJohn Gill takes a look at a stage of being in between and shares some great advice on navigating it. Below is an excerpt of a great post from his blog.

I am a pre-rookie. I’m sure many of you are in the same place as me. I’m not paid to be a pastor, rookie or otherwise; yet I find myself under many of the same stresses as a rookie pastor. I don’t want to be a pre-rookie forever, but I’m lucky to be supported by a team that loves growing young people and one important piece of advice they have given me and that I have found truer and truer as time goes on is: “Don’t rush it”.

I know what its like. You’re hearing from God and boy are you stoked to just get it happening. That’s awesome. Get it happening. Get involved. Do whatever is necessary. Are you ready to be titled a pastor? Maybe not.

Read the rest of the post here.

Some Traditions You Need

Josh —  June 1, 2012 — 2 Comments

Man Weekend.

That’s what my wife calls it.

Sometime in April I’ll get an email from one of my friends addressed to me and about 10 other guys. Ideas will be exchanged, dates set, and excitement builds for another weekend spent with some forever friends.

Ministry doesn’t lend itself to forever friends.

It is hard to get close to people on a truly friend level when you are their pastor. It shouldn’t be difficult but we all know that life long friends are hard to find when you pastor them.

You might have better luck with other pastors. Perhaps in an ideal world you are always sending your best staff person to start something new for the Kingdom. Realistically we know that this ideal happens but people move on for any number of reasons from the understandable to the heartbreaking.

Or perhaps it is you. Rooted long-term ministry is something I desire, but I understand why it is less and less common.

We need forever friends.

Friends who knew us before. Friends who won’t take our cliches. Friends that force us to be ourselves.

If you don’t have a standing tradition of connecting with forever friends create one.

Traditions usually make a Rookie Pastor’s stomach turn, but some traditions you need.

Tonight I’ll be eating junk food, playing poker, and talking about things I can’t share here or on a Sunday morning.

This is part 12 and the final installment of a blog series called Finding a Church Job.

Several friends in my life are currently looking for a church job. They are qualified, passionate, and available but they haven’t been able to find anything remotely close to the right fit.

I keep telling them to go through the process. That being told “no” is another step in the right direction. I tell them these rejections are somehow valuable.

I tell them this and understand why they want to give up.

So I’m telling you what I’m telling them.

Don’t give up.

Very simple, but very important for you to hear. If you are  a pastor, be a pastor. To your family, or your neighbors or your co-workers at the coffee shop or in the cubicle next door. Be a pastor to those who haven’t asked for a pastor until a community of people asks you to be their pastor.

Calling is this odd sort of trump card we like to play. If we are called we assume that we will have immediate gratification. Your calling as you articulate it is more of a destination or at least a few steps past the formative steps of humility and service that first must be embodied.

There is no secret formula. A search agency (head hunter) may call with an offer, a friend at a healthy church gives you a heads up on an opening, someone above you moves on, whatever the situation you will fail without first knowing who you are.

Pastors give up when they forget who they are.

Pastors take the wrong job when they didn’t know who they were in the first place. Continue Reading…

  • It’s a short week everything is out of whack. Deal with it.
  • I don’t think you should be reading them, but you better believe people in your congregation are: Fifty Shades of Grey Wikipedia page.
  • But for a book you should read: Platform by Michael Hyatt we have to figure out how to spread the message of the Kingdom using all of the available tools without feeling like we are hocking knives on an infomercial.
  • Churches are getting taxed.
  • You always need a word of encouragement, here are 12 of them.
  • “Discipline is not the enemy of creativity. Discipline is the amplifier of creativity. Be disciplined.” - Jon Acuff
  • The bane of freelancers.
  • If you like these posts you should follow me on Twitter, many of these and those that don’t make the cut are first shared there.
  • Seth Godin recommends….
  • Interesting story about a third of the faculty at a Baptist University leaving over a lifestyle statement they were asked to sign. The divides between the academy and the local church are larger than most admit.
  • I do this all the time to students. We all could slow down.
  • Oldie but a goodie: New York Times on pastor burnout.
  • Recently started using the Getting Things Done productivity system. Here are some cool flowcharts on finding one that addresses your problems.
  • Skye Jethani on faith and science.
  • Sometime in June my ebook 30 in 30 isn’t going to be free. Have to put a deadline on the ebook that is replacing it.
  • Finally a friend shares his journey with anxiety. Well done video piece that reminded me of my own struggles.

I Just Want to Teach

Josh —  May 30, 2012 — Leave a comment

I’ve heard that phrase many times as I talk to other Rookie Pastors and those about to enter paid ministry. In fact I have said it before, and I am sure I will say it again.

I just want to teach.

But this is what we mean when we say it:
I don’t want to be a youth/childrens/associate pastor.
Don’t make me wait.
I am already a better preacher than most of the people I’ve sat under.
They are doing it wrong.
People will drive from miles to hear me preach.
I’m ready.

Of course these are unfounded, wrong, arrogant, and annoying. All the negative qualities that come to mind with a Rookie Pastor are shown perfectly here.

As I mentioned last night Shane Hipps is leaving Mars Hill and in his letter there is an interesting note about their leadership structure.  Hipps (or Bell when he was there) was responsible for preaching but leadership of the staff and church as a whole was left to an Executive Director.

Hipps and Bell were only teachers. It appears as though this was their sole or at least primary responsibility.

10 years ago or even 4 years ago I think this would have been an attractive arrangement. Ministry and leadership are communication events and therefore aren’t designed to be segregated.  Continue Reading…