A few words to a new pastor…
I love you, Brother, and I am delighted that God has called you to this great work. I have long sensed that God had such a task in store for you. No one will pray for you more or respond more quickly if you need help than I.
I know you will receive this advice in the spirit in which I give it. I do not presume that you do not know these things but they bear repetition.
Get to know your congregation as quickly as you can. Get to know where they live, how they live and why they live. Map a route to their hearts as well as to their houses.
Get to know your community as well as you can. Meet the business owners, the factory managers, the local, county and state leaders. Learn the neighborhoods and their histories, the schools and their mascots, the police and the firemen and the first responders. Familiarize yourself with the hospitals, urgent cares, nursing homes and retirement centers; introduce yourself to every funeral director.
Get to know your connectIons – Missionaries, local and national ministries your church cares about and why they care. Take a census of your congregation’s extended families, friends and neighbors.
Get to know the calendar. Learn what dates matter and why. Learn every birthday, anniversary and local festival, schools schedules and holiday patterns.
Get to know the converts whose salvation you will be seeking. Make evangelism a public and private priority.
Get to know your companion better – your wife. Involve her in your plans, invest her with your priorities. Never take her for granted.
Get to know Christ better. Use the lens of a new place, a new position to sharpen your focus on your Savior. It is His church you pastor; it is His kingdom in which you labor.
Get to work.