I got to thinking yesterday, about the closing of Sunday's service... as we commissioned a youth pastor transitioning, to take the head role of a church in need of new leadership and fresh vision. Mentor-ship.
Pastors and staff transition just like any other industry, yet when there is a move of advancement, the previous position becomes a launch pad; a stepping stone; a season of preparation for "what's next". It's not the current position hasn't been important, necessary, critical or real. It has been all of the aforementioned things. And even those experiences are helpful when there is simply a lateral move to another similar position as was held before.
Above all of that, though; the lessons, the trials, the conversations, the "ah-ha" moments, the experience as a whole... all of it turns to knowledge, wisdom and insight that one soon discovers, still pales in comparison to what they feel they should have once in the new role of exponentially more responsibility.
The parting youth pastor mentioned it in his sermon.
"When I came here, I thought I was a good leader. Today, I am leaving a good pastor."
And the mark of a good leader who also happens to be a good pastor? Multiplication.
By the grace and favor of God, this is the forth time our church has helped launch an associate or youth pastor as they have sought and taken on a senior pastor role. Interestingly, none of them in thriving churches. All of them being in need revitalization and one being a church plant, starting in a church building on the verge of closing its' doors as they were down to only 5 attendees. That church plant was in a brand new facility in less than 3 years.
It's not a boast on our church, although it is an incredible honor. It is a boast on the Lord. As we prayed yesterday, that stewardship is more than just money... it's taking care of what has been entrusted to you. As a Senior Pastor entrusted to lead, build and develop the skills and abilities of the pastors who sit under their leadership, this is a form of stewardship.
And the very definition of mentor-ship.
A pastor who stewards his staff and pastors well, will inevitably find themselves in these moments.
Launching. Propelling. Forwarding. Then bringing in the person God directs them to fill the pastoral position now open and the process starts all over. Again.
Launch. Staff. Repeat.
On this #associatePastorTuesday, pray over this incredibly daunting process... of mentoring. Of stewardship. Of leadership. Of multiplying successes and best practices. Pray for wisdom... so much wisdom, beyond the years of senior pastors who are making the investment; beyond the years of associates who are gleaning. The struggle of ministry is real. May the lessons learned prove valuable; the experiences priceless; the trials strengthening; the "ah-ha" moments as turning points. Pray for healthy relationships and teamwork among pastors; may there be a unity of purpose, a camaraderie of spirit, a bond of friendship. Pray for the miraculous, as pastors cast vision; establish strategy; fill critical positions, implement plans and engage community.
All glory and honor to God, as good leaders become good pastors; create strong, healthy and vibrant churches, that change communities for eternity. For the cause of Jesus Christ. For the advancement of the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.
Just a man, attempting to fulfill God's plan. Husband, Dad, Dreamer. Blogger.