“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
Very often pastors are called to a new ministry. However, if we are not careful we can carry over some of the baggage of the past and allow that to impact what God can do with us in a new place.
So what did we do to avoid ill feelings and potholes that may trip us up as we begin this new chapter in our lives? Let’s look at the first three things to do:
1.Rejoice in the Work
Celebrate it. God has moved us to something that can be the greatest place we have ever been. It may be that all our ups and downs were meant for this time in our ministry to see God do great things,
Build new relationships. This is the time to get to know new people and reach out to them as their new pastor. They may have heartaches and struggles that they have gone through. They may have been hurt in church (we all have). We need to pour ourselves into them.
Use this time to be grateful and thankful. God has called us into His work for a reason. God called us here and the people are ready to do a new thing. We should be too!
2. Learn From Your Past Mistakes
Regardless of what happened in our last ministry, we have to evaluate the mistakes we’ve made. Maybe it was a blindspot in leadership. A style the old church preferred or we simply didn’t understand the why of what went wrong.
The reality is we have to honestly look at ourselves and not repeat the same misstep.
We may need to visit more, show more love, not snap in a meeting, or really examine our preaching. Maybe it is our study habits, or something we need to strengthen. But we can’t allow pride to keep us from being better.
3. Don’t Look Back
“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’” Luke 9:62
Don’t bring up the past hurt. You may have been deeply wounded by people you thought were your friends and wonder why things went wrong. But reliving the failure or heartache does’t help anyone.
Avoid looking at what is going on in the old church. We shouldn’t stop by their website or listen to the interim preacher. We shouldn’t celebrate, even secretly, if people have left and things are going wrong.
Limit conversations with that past congregation. Doesn’t mean we don’t love them. It simply keeps our focus on where it should be—our present ministry.
That is the important thing to remember. God has allowed us a new thing. It is imperative that we realize we need to go forward. Just as church people need to forgive the past, we do too. For the sake of the kingdom, and the community, may we enjoy what God is doing.
God is never done with us.
“God never loses sight of the treasure which He has placed in our earthen vessels.” Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Keep Looking Up!
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