Yesterday I celebrated my 5th year anniversary at Gateway Church here in Austin, Texas! Wow, hard to believe it’s been five years. What an amazing ride.
This is an interesting milestone for me for many reasons.
- This is the longest I’ve been on staff at any church. My first church was for four years, which coincided with going to school. It was a part-time gig that ended when I was hired for my first full time role as a Children’s Pastor. After this, I ended up in Southern Indiana in a larger Southern Baptist church. It was an incredible four years that taught me a lot about leadership, confrontation and how to focus on strategy. After this, I moved to the DFW area in North Texas where I served at one/two churches for three years. The church I came to was acquired by a larger church. I never moved or interviewed anywhere else, but it technically was two different churches. Here I learned a lot about the kind of Pastor I wanted to be, most specifically about what authenticity really was. Lastly, I moved to Austin 5 years ago to take a job as the NextGen pastor at Gateway Church. It’s probably been the hardest job I’ve ever done, but I’ve been challenged more than in any other place.
- Let me be clear. I don’t feel like I’ve ever “arrived” in any position I’ve been in. However, there were some roles where I felt I had reached my potential at that church. I’d made adjustments to the programs and structure and the future meant tweaking and adjusting what had been established. To a certain degree, what was left to do was to simply maintain and grow. When the time came to leave those ministries, I was excited to move on because I was ready for a new or different challenge. At Gateway, I feel like I’m still just getting started. I’ve worked very hard over the past 5 years to get some principles and structure in place and now it’s actually time to start making progress through that structure. I feel that the next 2-3 years is going to be when I’ll see some of the payoff… I hope. I’m looking forward to the next several years
I had a college professor (not in ministry department but business) tell me how important it was to stick it out in a particular job for a minimum of 4-5 years. Nothing looks worse on a resume than frequent transitions. What employer wants to make an investment in someone who has a reputation of leaving every 1-2 years. I think the most important thing a person can do for a church is provide longevity. The average children’s and student pastor makes a transition every 18-24 months. For a student pastor, this is even more critical and a sudden transition can be incredibly harmful to the students spiritually. I know many students who have left student ministry with feelings of abandonment and rejection. The same is true of children’s ministry, except that frequent transitions often cause ministyr whiplash.
Thanks Gateway for providing a place for me to serve, grow and experience community. No place is perfect, but I can’t imagine serving anyplace else. Here’s to many more years!
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