Top 10 Mistakes New Pastors Make

I just began a new role at a great church in London, Ontario, Canada. I never thought I’d be north of the border, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the ministry here. Before I came I extensively read about how best to onboard (adjust to a new job setting). In my reading and my 33 years of ministry experience, I’ve concluded that new pastors often make these 10 mistakes in  their new church.

  1. Failing to listen and learn.
  2. Bringing change too quickly.
  3. Not getting some early wins.
  4. Assuming that what worked in his or her previous church will work now.
  5. Spending too much time on tactical issues rather than focusing on strategic areas or learning the church’s culture.
  6. Not gaining clarity on how the boss or board defines success.
  7. Failure to understand how decisions are made.
  8. Not setting up a plan of action for yourself for the first six months.
  9. Not taking care of yourself/keeping healthy margins.
  10. ???

As I’m now in my third month at West Park Church, I think I’m avoiding most of these land mines. I have struggle with number 9, though. It seems like I’m skating on thin ice and if something unexpected happens, I’d be in a time crunch. At this point, at least I’m aware of that. Thankfully, I have an understanding wife. Right now I’m evaluating how I can schedule more margin.

What have been the biggest mistakes you’ve seen other pastors make?

What would you put in the number 10 slot?

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