Monday, September 03, 2007

First Things

I'm much more relaxed starting this second appointment than starting my first appointment, when I really had no clue. I'm thinking a lot now about what I want to do differently than I did as I started at St. Paul's. What are the first things you want to do in a new ministry?

I was talking with a colleague on the phone yesterday and we were talking about the opportunity of a fresh start, a clean slate. If you were starting over in a new ministry setting, what would you do? What would be your priorities in the first weeks, months, and year? What would you not do that you had done in other settings?

Of course, some things - many things, are context-specific. And many are the things you just have to do, no matter where you are and what else you might accomplish. (Think: Paperwork. Pension and health insurance forms. Looking at files. Figuring out the schedule and rhythm of the church.)

Do you make changes? I know some people recommend not making any real changes in the first year. I don't think I stuck to that rule in Oneida. But I also remember as a youth resenting even small changes made by new pastors. One pastor changed Children's Time to Young People's Time. No big deal, right? I hated it! Ah, how your perspective can change when your role in the life of the church is different.

Questions: What are the first things you want to do in a new appointment? Are you of the "sit-back and see how things are working" mindset? Or are you a "jump in and make waves" approach? Or somewhere in the middle?
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