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You Have to Start Somewhere: 4 Tips for Your First 2 Weeks

You Have to Start Somewhere: 4 Tips for Your First 2 Weeks

By Joseph Drinkard on March 11, 2014

This New Year marked a new season for my family and me when I accepted a full-time position to serve as Worship Arts Pastor for a church in Farmington, New Mexico. I had served other churches previously through on-staff and volunteer roles, and even managed to grab a music degree along the way.  Yet nothing prepared me for the “new kid in school” feeling that inevitably came.

For those who have been here before, this may feel like familiar territory. For those who haven’t, get ready. We’re all the new guy at least once. Will people like me? What if I’m not as good as the old worship pastor? How do I run this department? These are just a few of the questions that ran through my mind. The biggest one though—I’m here. Now what?

Whether within the local church or the marketplace, how you begin any new position is paramount. I can’t say I have all the answers, but I can give you a few tips that have helped me make the most of my first two weeks:

1. Pray. It may sound cliché, but this is a step you can’t skip. Just as Jesus wanted to “be about His Father’s business” (Luke 2:49), we need to pray and figure out what God wants—and then go after that. It’s been said that prayer is the backbone of any good ministry. I’d go a step further and say it’s the whole skeleton. If we try doing things without prayer, without time in the secret place, without pursuing the Presence of God, then we’re heading for a burnout. Burnout comes when we attempt to do by our own works what God intended to be done by His Spirit.

2. Meet with your lead pastor. Practically speaking, he/she is your boss, so it’s important for the two of you to sit down and define what success looks like for you on multiple levels. In my case, on day one my pastor and I made a 45 day plan. We laid out several goals that needed to be met in my first 45 days. This did several things: it opened a line of communication, clearly defined expectations, and gave me a starting point from which to work. Since then, we’ve expanded and added time frames for other larger, big picture goals. (Easter!) Even if you’re a year or two (or ten) into your position, I still recommend this. Communicating in this manner is a stress reliever for any ministry.

3. Meet with your department—and quick. In my case, I oversee the worship arts departments for both of our campuses. So, it was imperative that I get everyone involved under one roof. You can call it whatever you want. I called it an orientation. The purpose was simple: honor the past, cast vision for the future, and communicate expectations clearly. Use this time to encourage your team. Use this time for open dialogue. Use this time to get to know the people you’re about to do life with.

4. Get to work. Make every effort to steward your time effectively. If you’re in a position where you’re paid, then that means a portion of the Lord’s tithe has been given to support you. Don’t take that lightly. I’m not saying that you should be a work-robot. Take a break, have a cup of coffee, talk with people who stop by. But “whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). As a perk to you, getting things done on time means that when you’re with your family, you can really be with your family. When you take a Sabbath, it can really be a Sabbath. Your mind isn’t at work. It’s in the moment.

Do you have input? Ministry success (or horror) stories? Additional advice for any minister serving in a new place? Leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you.

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Joseph Drinkard

Joseph Drinkard

Joseph is a husband and father to two twin boys currently serving as Worship Arts Pastor for The Oasis in Farmington, New Mexico. He has been involved in worship ministry since 2005 serving the Church by way of local church ministry, camps, conferences, and worship recordings. Joseph is a Bachelor of Music Ministry from Southwestern Assemblies of God University. He is an advocate for music education within the local church and has served as a contributor for several ministry resources.