1. Starting out is hard – very hard. That’s normal. My personal story is that when I began in vocational ministry less than 3 years ago, many leaders from both of the teams I was hired to lead left within the first few months. Here I was with all of my excitement and vision and lacking the volunteers to move forward. Of course, God was faithful and provided leaders to minister to others, but that first 6 months was really hard. Don’t feel discouraged and don’t give up. Keep praying and working hard and trust that our faithful God will provide.
2. Use your time to develop people/systems that disciple those you are leading. Yes, providing exciting events or connection times is necessary too, but make that secondary to a culture that produces spiritual growth.
3. Be careful with your high horse. Whatever your high horse is, just be careful you don’t become known for fighting against one controversial issue. For example, let’s say that you’re passionate about promoting women leaders in the church. You are always talking about it. Now, if someone disagrees with you on that point, that person listens to nothing you have to share. And if you are a youth leader, the parents may disagree with your one view and not allow their child to come and be ministered to. Be wise with the battles you choose.
4. Funny YouTube videos will win over any group. That’s just a fact.
5. Ministry is absolutely exhausting. Over the long haul, ministry can take its toll on you. Take time away from serving others to do activities that will rejuvenate you. That’s not selfishness, it’s a combination of wisdom and survival. And never underestimate the importance of a Sabbath.
6. Over communicate with your senior pastor/leader. I can’t overemphasize this one. When you know a difficult conversation or confrontation is coming up, be sure to let him or her know ahead of time. If you are emailing someone and the tone seems harsh, forward it over to the pastor and let him know how you are handling it. It may seem like an unnecessary step, but this will result in a lot more trust from senior leadership and eliminate a plethora of misunderstandings.
7. Listen. Listen to the people you lead. And most importantly, listen to God.