16th February 2017
I will never forget my first day of full-time Christian ministry. I had begun to sense the call of God on my life some six years earlier, whilst still in my early twenties. Over that time, God had taken me on a journey and taught me much, and at last I was free to begin serving Him as a youth pastor in my home church in Bedford. I clearly remember the day I left my job in sales and marketing - leaving the keys to my BMW on my desk, handing back my brick-sized car phone and saying goodbye to the handsome pay packet. I didn’t mind the 80% drop in salary because I was about to devote myself to the real work of preaching the gospel and seeing people saved.
I spent my first day in my new role as a pastor putting out chairs for a funeral and welcoming the people coming through the door. This was not quite what I had imagined! It seemed a very long way from my sales and marketing job, a world of meeting directors of large companies and ad agencies in London. I had left all that to spread God's word and found myself serving as a steward at a funeral! This was just the first of many reality checks about what a pastor does and does not do week by week.
Last week I saw the following tweet from Pete Greig:
It was a statement that resonated with me. My experience has been that while I love to preach and teach, a large amount of my time is spent in building team, meeting with people, poring over spreadsheets and getting through essential administration. Very often what people imagine the primary work of a pastor to be is what they see happening on Sundays: preaching, anchoring meetings and leading ministry times. But the reality is that for all those things to run well and effectively, a lot of time needs to be spent behind the scenes building the teams and systems that enable those things to happen, and investing in leaders. My experience, like Pete’s, is that churches that prosper are both well led and well taught - health comes from both these key areas. The truth is that if you aspire to preach the word of God, you will have to do a lot of stewarding and putting out chairs as well.
Posted by Steve Tibbert
Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve is also involved in Newfrontiers and regularly coaches other lead elders. His book, Good to Grow, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.