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