This week you’ve seen I’ve been writing a lot about Brother Jim. A year ago he asked me to join Infuse, his year long mentoring program. I joined and it’s been a great year. There have been a lot of factors in my life that have caused growth, but Infuse has certainly been one of them. I’ve recently decided to do a second year of Infuse. I’ve enjoyed the connections I made with the others in my group who will be doing a second year and I look forward to spending another year growing from Jim in an even small group.
Let me share with you a few things I’ve learned from Brother Jim that have impacted me greatly. These aren’t necessarily things you’d only learn from Infuse as most of these concepts you’ll read in his books or hear him speak about. Most of these concepts I’m going to share with you I’ve heard him say at other times, it’s just that they really sunk in over this past year.
My number one responsibility is to serve my pastor’s vision.
For years I’ve heard Brother Jim talk about this. A session he’s taught many times is tittles, “Serving another man’s vision.” The first time I heard the title of that talk, I thought to myself, “no thanks, God’s given me my own vision.” I never really “heard” this principle until this year and it has challenged me to the core. One thing that helped me significantly was a senior pastor who pulled me and the youth pastor aside many years ago and stressed priorities with us, almost like we were in trouble. He communicated that our first priority was the church as a whole and the ministries we oversaw were secondary. That helped provide a lot of perspective over the years as many youth and children’s pastors have a tendency in building their own programs that don’t always represent or support the rest of the church. I think many of us are territorial by nature.
Brother Jim was taking this concept to the next level. My number one priority is to see my pastor be successful. I’m on staff to serve him. Not only do I need to be willing to do anything he asks of me, but I should seek out ways to serve his vision without waiting for him to ask. This concept is very different from they way so many student and kids pastors operate. Too often we’re knocking on our pastor’s door asking how he can better serve us.
Some of you may be asking the same question I asked myself when this concept started sinking in. “If my first priority is to serve my pastor, then how am I going to lead a thriving ministry that God’s given me a ministry for?” Well, hopefully if we’re living out this concept of serving our pastor first, we’ve developed staff and volunteers who are living out the every same concept for our ministries. My staff needs to know my vision and and and passion for the ministry and their first priority needs to be to serve that vision. Their staff or leaders need to know their vision and passion for the ministry they’re assigned to and make that their first priority. Most of the time, this gets turned around. We get so focused on what we need to do, we miss out on our priorities.
I’m growing in this area and I’ve got a LONG way to go. However, I’ve seen Jim live this out in two different churches. He lives by this value. I’ve never met a children’s pastor (or next gen pastor) who loves and serves his pastor they way Jim Wideman does his. He’s constantly talking about how he’s serving him. I think there are areas where he may not agree or areas where he might do things differently, but that doesn’t change his stance on serving him. I also know Jim doesn’t mindlessly follow either. He offers suggestions or makes requests, but in the end he submits.
I think the most important thing here though is that you have to work for a pastor that you can serve and submit to. If you don’t like your pastor or don’t feel that you can fully submit to his vision, then you’re in the wrong church.
So, that’s enough of that. Like I said, this is one key thing I learned this year and I’m growing tremendously in this area.
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Makes total sense. I think what is hard for me is that our Pastor does not have a vision ( I asked him) so, of course, I cannot serve it. Is leaving the only answer, or how long do you fight to fix the situation?
You are right on target! Having been a Senior/Lead Pastor for about 35 years I know how it is from that office. Having served as a Family Minister for 2 years I have some knowledge of serving the Lead Pastor. Hopefully, the pastor and the rest of the staff are on the same page. Hopefully, the staff have bought in to the vision the pastor has. Most pastors have one even though they may not know how to articulate it. I have spent the last 2 years trying to build a dynamic children’s ministry and getting ready to launch a student ministry but ALSO trying to make sure my pastor looks good and is successful!
Thanks for your insight Robert. You truly have seen it from both sides. Brandon, I don’t know that just leaving is the solution. Remember, your job is to serve your pastor, maybe there’s an opportunity to help him articulate that vision. I can’t imagine a pastor who doesn’t have a vision. However, if I found myself in a church that had no vision, I couldn’t stay. It wouldn’t matter how good I was or how much potential there was, without the senior leader pushing a vision, I’d only be frustrated. So, that’s a question you’d have to answer for yourself. What do I know? 🙂