Continuing this small series on what I have learned as a new Pastor in a small Southern Baptist Church, I’d like to talk about grabbing low-hanging fruit, making those easy wins.
If you want to run a 5k, and accomplish it, obviously it takes training and small wins in between before you accomplish that 5k. You set yourself goals of running certain distances, until you reach the 5k. Those small, easy wins help you in seeing that it’s not impossible, helps you see growth and transformation, and helps you not to get burnt out.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever received when starting out as a new Head Pastor was to find easy wins. For example, I was contemplating what I should preach on first. Being very excited about preaching series and through Books of the Bible, I had a hard time figuring out what I should preach on. Find an easy win. I preached through Philippians. I loved it, my Church loved it, and it was an easy win for both of us. For one, it didn’t encounter a lot of deep doctrinal issues, it was very practical and applicable, and it provided my Church the opportunity to know me more because the Book of Philippians has helped me tremendously with my seasons of depression and anxiety. I’m not saying Philippians would be the best thing for you to start preaching on, it could easily be a 4-6 week topical series. But, our Church needed to find joy in Christ, to have that joy restored to them. They were in a season of healing.
If you seek to grab low-hanging fruit, the easy wins will help you and your Church grow closer together. Don’t tackle the hard stuff yet.
As we already talked about, the Church at this point is looking to see if you care. As you are seeking for the easy wins, don’t make it about you. It’s all about Christ and His Church. I didn’t seek for an easy win in my first sermon series because I wanted something easy. I sought for an easy win because I wanted my Church to see that I cared and that I’m intentional about what I’m trying to do.
If you, as a new pastor, come in to your Church seeking for the big wins and changes to prove yourself, you will damage both your position and possibly even your Church. Look for the easy wins.
I was given some of the best advice as well by being told not to make any big changes for the first year. The people you are called to shepherd have been a part of this Church for years. How would you feel if someone came into your home and started rearranging furniture? You wouldn’t like it. You don’t know this person. But if you had someone you trust come in and say, “I think this piece would do very well in this corner. See how the light comes in perfectly with that?” Of course it wouldn’t be comfortable at first, but it would be easier than some stranger doing it.
Use the first year of your ministry as Pastor to build relationships with those in your Church. Build their trust through your love and care for them and through the easy wins you and your Church begin to find.
Grab the easy wins, first. Give your time to loving your people and getting to know your people.