Post by Andrew Larson
Six months ago today was my first day not being a youth pastor. For the better part of 15 years, “youth pastor” wasn’t just what I did, it was who I was. But about a year ago God started stirring something in me that caused me to begin to asking Him if it was time for something different. That stirring is not what this blog is about though, maybe another time….
As I have been reflecting over my first six months as a lead pastor, there are a few realities that keep jumping out at me. I thought I understood all of these things from a student ministry standpoint, but they’ve been made more and more clear every week. Here they are:
1.) Leadership is hard. Being the guy on stage with the microphone is hard at first too, but that isn’t really leadership. Leadership is what happens when you realize that the culture needs to change, when the culture thinks everything is fine, and you have to lovingly convince them otherwise. But here’s the thing, I wasn’t hired for my leadership ability. They hired me because they liked the guy on stage with the microphone. 
2.) Preaching is important, but so is everything else. I’ve never been so aware of what bathrooms weren’t working right, or which Sunday school teachers were running late as I have been the past 6 months. The best sermon doesn’t erase a poorly run children’s ministry, and no matter how good the band is, families won’t come back if they aren’t made to feel welcome. I have always liked Andy Stanley’s statement “Sermons don’t build churches, systems do.” But now I get it.
3.) Relationships trump everything else. Whether you are at a church of 70 or 700, real relationships are what bring people to your church and keep them there. People are looking to find or strengthen their relationship with God, and they are looking to be a part of something bigger than themselves. A personal touch and genuine interest in someone can open the door to the gospel as well as anything.
Six months from now, I’m sure I will have a new list of things I thought I had a grasp on, and I pray that I’ll have a better handle on these three!
Andrew Larson – After 15 years in student ministry, I was recently demoted to senior pastor. My friend Tim and I use DYM as an excuse to hang out during office hours and to fund our families’ Disney addictions. My wife and I have 4 boys. No, we are not trying for a little girl. See more of Andrew’s stuff HERE