If you are new to the blog, we like sharing stories with you about what it’s like to be a millennial in the position of lead pastor. There’s not a ton of us out there so in the spirit of solidarity, we want to celebrate those stories and share a perspective we believe the church needs hearing. If you have missed it, we have a number of individuals who have shared. Check out their stories here.
With that said, I will proceed with my story.
My two-year review is in a few weeks. It’s something my denomination does for new lead pastors. Our bylaws state that a new lead pastor will have a two-year review, then another one every four years after that. The process involves my District Superintendent (who is in charge of all the churches in my district of which there are 87 and counting) and my church board. Since I haven’t had the review yet I can’t really tell you what happens during it, but I will surely speculate.
My last two years as pastor will be discussed. The good, the bad and the ugly. It could be a great time of affirmation or a bummer where I am put on probation or something. Honestly, I’m not worried about being reprimanded, but still, the idea of going through such a process is slightly daunting.
Especially since I am a millennial and we don’t like criticism, so some say…
Really though, I am a millennial though, and from what I have seen, we do “pastoring” a little different from those before us. This is what I really ponder most. How will that come out in the review? Will some established church members bring things up like “my pastor in 1978 did this, why don’t you?” Perhaps, but I kind of doubt they will. Still, how will generational perspectives inform the discussion… This is I ponder most often, and not just for my review.
Think about it for a moment… How different am I from an 80-year-old who has been part of a church for so much longer than I have been alive? What’s more, that church has changed a lot in that time, and that might be something my elders dislike. Will that be something I become the poster child of? Will I be the embodiment of all the changes that have happened over the years that some may not be overjoyed about?
I hope not…
Do I really know what I’m doing?
Put all that generational commentary aside, and the other thing that is constantly going through my head is this:
“What am I even doing?!!!”
Seriously though, this is one of the biggest reasons I wrote this book. I don’t know what I am doing! Who in the world would be crazy enough to hire me!
Ok… insight into the brain of a millennial, namely me…
*Spends all week prepping a sermon for Sunday. How does one prep… hmmm… I guess I’ll read a lot of stuff… but I can’t really just read from a book and call it a sermon though… yikes…*
*After a week or so-called “prepping”, sermon is delivered and only my wife shared her thoughts on how good it was. My wife is the best and has told me she will always be supportive, but the sermon was also heard by everyone else. So a week of work and no feedback… ‘my brain is flipping out, is it possible to ruin a church with a single sermon!!!!’*
* Visits a sick church member and suddenly realized I forgot my Bible… ‘No one will believe I am a pastor now… Great!’
* Literally every time I answer the phone or meet new people… “Can I speak to the Pastor” or “Oh, you are the Pastor?”… following by my brain immediately trying to figure out how to look more “pastory” because apparently I don’t look or sound like one.
The list goes on. The mixture of insecurity and lack of training makes the idea of a two-year review slightly daunting. I really don’t know what to think because half the time I really don’t know if I am doing all of this right.
Doing Pastoring Right
Is there a right way to pastor? I highly doubt it. Sure I wonder if I am messing up, and I like to find humor in it, but I have learned one significant truth in these last two years:
You have to become the type of pastor God says your church needs…
How do you know? Lots of trial and error. I’m still trying to figure it out. I shared in my book the importance to help guys like me figure it out. I shared the need for wisdom, guidance and more training. It seems my church heard my cry for help.
After my two year review, I have also been selected to be part of a pilot program within my denomination. They are pairing a select few young pastors with those who have been around a while. The hope is that they develop a strategy to foster more mentoring and training for guys like me. I assume it will be a trial run of sorts and I am more than willing to be a guinea pig!
Maybe one of them can explain to me how one does “pastory” things better.
I guess we’ll see.
Until next time…