What to do when you’re NEW: Part 1 – Renew Yourself

Steve Petty
Written by Steve Petty

What to do when you’re NEW!

#1 – Renew yourself:

Whatever the reason for your move from the last church, it is imperative that you begin the time with your new church filled with hope and excitement.

If your last church was a bad experience, then this move is critical for you.

What advice does Jesus give to those whom he sends out to preach? If you are not received well, if your peace is not returned to you, shake off the dust from your sandals and move on. Don’t even let the dust from that town go with you to a new place. Leave it behind.

Renew yourself first.

Were there mistakes that you made which sabotaged your efforts to be a good leader? What were they? What will you do differently in the new church? This is so important I cannot over-emphasize it.

Consider the couple you are asked to counsel who are coming from previous divorces. You ask them, “What did you learn from your last marriage that will help you have success in this marriage?” If the answer you get is all about the partner left behind and there is no understanding of error on the part of the speaker, you have some counseling to do. Chances are very high that they fully intend to do exactly what they did before and hope for better results. The odds of better results are slim.

In exactly the same way, when you move to a new church you should think through the things that didn’t work at the last church. Some of those problems may be endemic in that church, however you had an opportunity to overcome them and you didn’t. What do you want to do differently in this new church that will improve your chance of success?

Renew yourself first.

If your last church was a great success, then you may be disappointed at having to move, or you may even be upset at having to pull up stakes and pitch a new tent.

Examine your own feelings. If you are disappointed that you were forced to leave a congregation that you loved and are not happy about the move, it would be wise to keep that opinion to yourself. The new congregation needs to hear the Gospel preached with enthusiasm and passion. If they detect disappointment, detachment, or disaffection in the words or tone of your message, it will be hard for them to fully embrace you as a person who can lead their church.

No matter how successful you were at the last church, and no matter how much the last congregation loved you, the new church doesn’t want to know about it.

It’s kind of like the dating scene: your new boy or girl friend doesn’t really want to know about your last relationship. Were they great, were they terrible, … don’t care. What your new friend wants to know is, “How do you feel about ME?” “Are you happy to be with me?” “Are we having fun yet?”

The new congregation wants to know that you are excited to be with them even if it means being less than forthright about your feelings and burying your deep disappointment.

Renew yourself first. Renew you attitude. Renew your faith. Remember you are a person of faith. God is in control of your life, and God is moving you to a place where God needs you to be in ministry. When you look out at those new expectant faces, be a blessing to them. Share God’s love with them.

You absolutely cannot know how God is going to use you in this new setting. The situation may seem awful. It may seem remote. It may seem hopeless. But you don’t know what God intends to do with you and with these people. Maybe in the long history of this church it is your joyful leadership that is needed now to finally help them turn the corner and be a great church in this community. Maybe God has great plans for you and them. Go with the expectation that something great is going to happen in the new place.

Renew yourself first.