Listen and Learn
One of the best things you can do is listen. Now, you don't only listen during year one of ministry; you need to act. But what you don't want to do is come in as Mr. or Mrs. Know-it-all that refuses to listen. I love James 1:19. In the message version, it says this. "Lead with your ears, follow with your tongue and then let anger straggle."
Now, aren't those good things? If we could just get those right in our life - to lead with your ears, then follow with your tongue, and then let your anger straggle. It's super easy to get that flipped. I get angry, I go off at the mouth, and then I listen. There are a lot of Bible verses and points that have to do with listening. My grandmother always used to say that God gave you two ears and one mouth, so that you could listen twice as much as you speak. In listening, you learn the hearts of the people you work with. You allow them to learn about your heart. When I listen, I begin to understand my people, and they begin to understand me.
You also want to learn about the church, and listen to their stories. Learn about the church by listening to their stories. You can do all the research you want in the first 12 months. You can study the church website. You can try to get the pastor to download as much as he or she can. But at the end of the day, you just need to listen. You've got to pull people in the room. You've got to have people over. You've got to invite people to get coffee and listen to stories. You build that rapport at the very beginning by listening.
People are impressed with listeners. I think as pastors, we just love to pontificate at the mouth, and we just talk, talk, talk and talk. As pastors, we love to hear our own voices, but we gain a lot of respect with people when we genuinely listen.
Your #1 fan,