I have learned a lot in my first year as the pastor of Connell Church of the Nazarene. I know that I have grown in more ways than just as a pastor, but at this time it is easiest to focus on church stuff. Here are five things I have learned, or that have been confirmed to me in my first year.
1. Alyssa and I have both been honored by the access that people grant us to their lives. It’s humbling to be accepted into intimate family moments, simply because we are in the role of pastor. We consider the moments that we have been able to share grief, weigh options, and celebrate with families in our church to be pure joy. These blessed moments were not in our set of expectations, but have proven to be some of our favorite times this year.
2. I have learned the value of considering my role to be that of steward. God has given me this time and place to minister, and His expectation of me is faithfulness. When I forget that I am steward, and not God, I get stressed out. It’s God’s church, He’ll protect it, and accomplish His will in it. I hope He’ll use me as He does, but I’d rather see God do cool stuff in Connell than get credit for His work.
3. Related to #2 I have learned the importance of self-care. I started enjoying my job a lot more when I started working out regularly this Fall.
4. I’ve confirmed that I really enjoy studying God’s word. It’s so cool to me that I get to study the Bible every week and share what I have learned with an audience that genuinely wants to hear what God is teaching me. I am so blessed to be in a church that is so gracious as they encourage my growth as a preacher.
5. I am learning the need for a powerful display of God’s love through His people. I need this in all of my relationships and attitudes. As a church we need to become more comfortable speaking the language of God’s love to one another and to the world around us.
Those are five things, in no particular order, that I have been learning this year. I know there is a lot more I need to learn, I’ll probably catch it all in my second year.