Being a new lead of an established ministry can be difficult. You feel that you have fresh ideas and energy and can shake things up a bit. The team may not want to be shaken though. Finding a balance between the status quo and your personal vision can be difficult. Coming on staff to work with student ministry at my church has brought some of these challenges. I’ve learned that communication, patience, and being humble is crucial during this transition.
I recommend communicating many of your thoughts and vision in the interview process. If you communicate some of your thoughts and visions while interviewing, your lead pastor won’t be thrown off guard when you bring new ideas to the table. You don’t want to be hired under false pretenses. You want to ensure that the vision and ideas you want to bring fit in with those of the organization you are becoming a part of. During the transition you will be faced with some challenges, people who want to create your vision for you and bring resistance to your thoughts. Stay diligent and be patient with people, communicate your goals and compromise when necessary. Don’t be afraid to lose a battle if it means you win the war.
Meet with the stakeholders of your ministry. Whether it is the lead pastor, creative team, or parents, communicating with stakeholders is necessary. Being open and receptive to their input communicates that you want to be part of the team and value their input. This is a team, people have a lot of experience in your new position. Share why you want to go a certain direction, earn peoples trust. Quick wins in your ministry help to bring people into your corner. Look for opportunities, however small, to demonstrate you are capable without being too over bearing.
Be humble. Being slow to speak and quick to listen communicates a lot in meetings. Listen to what people are communicating to you and how you can incorporate them into your vision for ministry. You may not get along personally with everyone and I don’t think you do not need to. However, you need to respect and honor people around you. Take the high road if other people aren’t willing to. This doesn’t mean rolling over for others. There is a time when you need to speak up, hold your ground and lead. When you have communicate your vision, backed it up with quick wins, and valued those people around you then you will be someone worth following. No matter how new you are.