Napkin Ideas Session 6: Justyn Smith

Justyn Smith took the stage again the second day of the conference to share 8 things he has learned from his lead pastor. I appreciated hearing his perspective after learning that of his pastor on the previous day.

1. Honor those in authority over you, even if he or she might be wrong on occasion. If your pastor is bugging you, pray for him!

2. Follow your pastor’s vision; then follow yours. My comment: in leadership literature this is known as shared vision. Make sure your vision dovetails with that of your church leadership. Otherwise you are probably going off on a distracting tangent.

3. You don’t know everything. Comment: If you think you are pretty certain about a particular item. You still may not have all the facts which are at your pastor’s disposal.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail. He says that most of what he has learned has been through failure. If we keep doing something the same way, in spite of repeated failure, then there is something wrong!

5. Learn how to communicate. What does your communication look like if you have never been to church? Keep it simple, and don’t get cute. The more creative we get, the more out of touch we become.

6. Work well with other departments. Comment: Hear Ronald Reagan’s voice on this one- “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down those ministry silos!”

7. Quitting is a good thing if you know when to quit. Comment: I probably would use a different term. Quit has a negative connotation, in my view. However, his point is well-taken. Americans typically hate to give up on something, even if it is the right time. There are times when retiring an annual event, an expression of ministry, or even our own role at a church is the right thing to do. The key is to be prayerful, hear God’s will on the matter, and to do so in a way that encourages the larger church community, rather than brings confusion.

8. Be patient. Follow your call. Comment: Patience is strengthened when the first six points, in particular, are practically applied. Without them, patience becomes far more difficult due to the isolation which may ensue.


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