Here we are, dear readers. We've arrived at the 400th post. I've been brewing on how to commemorate the occasion for some time now. What'd I end up with? Nada. Editor's Note: Somehow, whenever I look for inspiration, I never find it. It usually sneaks up on me from behind.
So, once again, I say thank God for Puddles. Today, Puddles and I had a conversation on some of the things that we've learned being in our first couple of years as pastors. We've got a buddy who's getting ready to start a new job as a Middle School Pastor in West Palm Beach, FL and, as we were re-thinking through our first year or so at our jobs, it seems that we both had a similar problem.
Sometimes during our first year, we both felt like there was so much to do, that we didn't know where to start. As a result of this looming amount of work, we both developed a certain level of intimidation of it. So, we were afraid to do anything because it might be the wrong thing.
As I thought through how this problem could be remedied, I realized the key to starting to manage a ministry lies in two things.
1) Rely on God's strength and guidance. Not your own. When I first got the job, I had a couple of panic attacks thinking about how much responsibility came with shepherding students and how incredibly unqualified for the job I was. But, it was during the times that I actually slowed down and remembered that God didn't want me to do the job on my own with my own strength, but as a partner with Him, in what He was already doing, that I realized that I might be able to manage it.
You aren't designed to do this on your own. Stop trying. Right now.
The best and toughest question you can ever learn to ask is "Can you help me?". It's especially important to learn to ask this question to God...
2) Learn to divide your time. How do you eat an elephant? You cook it in a light teryaki merinade. Wait... I meant to write "one bite at a time". Divide your time during the week to help get yourself going. Make Wednesday afternoons all about small groups (admininstration, curriculum writing, leader care, etc.). Make Thursday afternoons all about fine-tuning your message. Make Friday afternoons all about hanging out with kids. During your assigned times, try your best to focus on the goal at hand. By giving each area a time priority, you'll be able to stop focusing on the elephant and just focus on the ear.
I, of course, learned this by making mistakes.
Those, although definitely the thoughest, are always the lessons that seem to stick with you the longest...