So our senior pastor returned this week from three and a half months on sabbatical writing a book. I wasn’t expecting it to be a time when I would necessary learn a whole load – I was just trying to keep the thing going and not lose too many people to be honest. But as it turns out I’ve probably learned as much in the last 3 months as in the previous 3 years. So here’s what I learnt (apologies if its glaringly obvious to you already!):
- His job is really really hard. So many plates to spin, so many demands, so many people issues to keep on top of. I need to support and respect him more in view of this.
- He must handle a whole load of toxic stuff that he protects us from. He never moans about it or gossips. He’s just quietly gets on with dealing with difficult issues whilst keeping everyone else positive and on track.
- Preaching isn’t the hard bit. The extra preaching hasn’t been too much – I’ve enjoyed it (can’t speak for the congregation). It seems to me that you earn your bread in the people and direction stuff.
- Busyness and the urgent always seeks to trump the important. Fighting the fires means there is precious little time to read and think and take in the bigger picture. A senior pastor who still manages to do this is a very good thing indeed.
- All the people stuff is emotionally draining. Not so much the crises – you can deal with those; but the grumblers, critics, and whiners – they’re the ones you go to bed thinking about and wake up thinking about – and that is far more draining than I’d imagined.
- I worry too much about being a people pleaser. I need to develop a thicker skin and do the right thing under God even when some people will be a little upset by that.
- I’m so thankful to be part of a pastoral team, with a senior pastor who trains, empowers, and protects. Team ministry is great!