Well, today I started my new call. I’m the new Associate Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Ashland, Oregon. And boy do I ever feel “new.” Don’t know many of the kids. Don’t know many of the wonderful church folk. Don’t know exactly how to use my phone. There’s lots of stuff I don’t know.
I went in to the church this morning and kind of got the lay of the land…had a short staff meeting…went into my office and sat down. And felt pretty completely overwhelmed.
It’s not anyone’s fault, but boy is there a lot to learn about a new call. Add to all that the fact that our church’s internet was slow…and I mean slooooooooow. But I made a quick phone call to our internet provider and it looks like that’s getting worked on, so that should be okay. Important things first, right?
By around 1pm, I knew I needed food (and Sadie needed to be let out) so I came home and have just been relaxing here a bit. I’m headed back in awhile, because we have a Session meeting tonight. I know a lot of it is just being in a new place with new people and new ways of doing things. A lot of it is really wanting to start well here in this position.
Someone gave me the advice that the worst thing I could do when I got here was just to start working right away. That it’s more important for me to learn the stories of people here, to get together with folks and hear what they love about the church, what they think our challenges are, etc. And I’m excited to do that. But…the acolytes need to be directed on Sunday morning. And I need to make sure the Sunday School teachers have all of their supplies and lessons printed out. There is still a lot of stuff that needs to be done. I just need to find a balance between taking care of things that need to be done, and sitting back, getting a “balcony view” of the church and listen, listen, listen.
For those of you who have started new calls, what do you think are the most important things to do in the first week? What do you think are the worst things you can do in the first week? Any advice for a newly called pastor?