Kim Skattum stopped by our staff meeting recently to share some of the lessons he has learned after 35 years of leading in a local church. Kim is a local church pastor whom many of us count as a mentor.
What I wished I knew when I started
1) Be intentional about your self care.
– life issues are much deeper when you are in ministry. you get drawn into deep emotional situations and it takes toll.
– Col 3:23 was a chain around my neck and I worked too hard. gained a lot of weight, never wanted to let anyone down.
– “I believed that if I took care of myself, I was not taking care of other people.” Advice I was given, “you take care of God’s children, God will take care of your children.” This was stupid advice.
I changed my calendar from being an enemy of my family to become a defender of my family.
2) You Can’t Fix People.
– I was pastor Kim on the spot. I never evaluated the need, I just always went.
My counseling was always open ended rather than heading toward closure. I would keep meeting with people until we were all frustrated and I was burned out.
– Now I seek to listen to people until I understand them and they know I understand them and then I pray for them. Agreement is often immaterial to listening – people are seeking understanding as much as anything. If someone feels understood by you, they often feel loved.
– You need a hobby that you can “fix.” I spend two or three hours per week apprenticing at a bike shop. I love it because it is the only area of my life that I can fix it. I can apply a skill and fix something. Often times, pastors need hobbies with tangible results for their own wellbeing.
3) Replace Yourself.
– All our staff and volunteers are required to actively replace themselves. Actively pour yourself into another person who could replace you. They may replace you in your setting or they may be able to do your job in another Kingdom setting.
– We give the people we’re mentoring as much of us as we possibly can. We give them training, but we also give them authority.
– We applaud people who are applauding people.
– We’re all interims. We all have a limited shelf life. Whether you leave, get sick, retire or die.
– Leaders don’t volunteer, they are recruited. They respond to a personal invitation, not a general announcement. Real leaders want to be invited in. You are doing something that other people are interested in. Your job is to find them, invite them, mentor them.