My family and I arrived at Twynholm Baptist Church at the beginning of June. The church here very kindly gave me a month to sit in the pews and observe before taking up the pulpit this coming Sunday.
Here are some reflections on why this month has been such a good thing which I would encourage every church to give an incoming pastor.
1) It has been hugely useful for me to sit in on services, elders meetings, prayers meetings etc and see a snapshot of what the church looks like before starting to lead things myself. This enables me to understand the church a great deal better, and I trust will give me more sensitivity and wisdom now I come to lead.
2) It has given a useful message to the congregation that I am a member of the church before I am its pastor, and I sit under the preaching of the word before I preach.
3) It has given me time to build relationships.
4) It has given me time to observe and reflect, so that any changes I do encourage will be thought out rather than just happen because I had to do something in a hurry.
5) It has been encouraging for my family that it has been possible to create some time in the diary to help with the set up of the home - my wife has not been left to carry furniture by herself but could call on my help without feeling she was interrupting sermon prep time. Encouraging the incoming pastor's family is extremely helpful for a church!
6) It's given me some time to read some of the church records and documents to get a little more clear picture of the history of the church than I had before I started.
But after a month, I am glad to have the privilege of beginning to preach here this Sunday. I'm starting off, as so many new pastors have, by preaching through Mark's gospel. This week's sermon is Mark 1:1-13 "The divine king", and Praise the Lord it's yet early on Friday night, and I think I have my outline...