I have been in ministry for about 19 years and I will say it's been an amazing journey. I have served as a volunteer, intern, Jr. High Director, College Pastor, Student Ministries Pastor, Children's Pastor, and I currently pastor the church I planted about 6 years ago. It has truly been a wonderful time and journey.
That said, there are a few things I wish I really understood before I started:
- Motivations matter way more than people tend to acknowledge. Sifting through my motivations and then making sure I don't allow my impure motivations to drive my decisions takes a considerable amount of effort and intentionality - far more than I like to admit.
- Being alone is way more normal in leadership than people realize. Personally, I never really feel lonely, but I do feel alone. I almost never move in a direction without a team totally on board, but I am always "ahead" of the team in ways...which means I'm alone a lot.
- Making meaningful decisions on Sunday is ludicrous. My head feels like Jello after I teach three times. The only thing I should do when I get home on Sunday is eat and take a couch nap. I wait until Monday (at least) to decide anything.
- There should be no guilt for turning off your cell phone. Sometimes leaders often think they need to be accessible at all times. That's actually called having a messiah complex and, well, last time I checked Sabbath was not a suggestion.
- You will never regret not leading things others can lead. Unless you have the need to control things, letting others lead is freeing and empowering for others. And, if you don't let others lead things and fully back away, you never develop leaders.
- Some people are called to be in leadership, but everyone is called to be in submission. I have really come to understand and appreciate the beauty of submitting to those God has placed over me.
- Trust is only earned over time...and there are always people that will never trust you no matter what you do.
- Comparing yourself to other leaders is the worst thing you can do. This not only steals the joy of being yourself, but it will also hinder your effectiveness in ministry. God made us to be who we are for a reason, and organizing our ministries around who we are (in strength and weakness) is the only way to lead.
- Leadership is a personal thing, but don't take too much personally. Sometimes people bock at what you do, but sometimes it's them that's the problem not you.