03 Apr Resident to Pastor: 5 Things I’ve Learned Over the Past Year
Over the last year my life has changed multiple times. I have moved, received a promotion, started as a resident, and now I am pastoring a church towards a replant. Needless to say, my life has been a whirlwind since April of 2017.
Last year I began to have conversations with my pastor, Dwayne Milioni, about church planting. I was serving as a Youth Pastor in Durham, but the Lord had placed a desire for church planting on my heart and I approached Pastor Dwayne about my desires. A few months later, he asked me to become his assistant and oversee Open Door Church’s internship program, preaching lab, and small group material. Shortly after I started, it only made sense for me to come under Generation Link at Open Door where I was able to gain wisdom from Pastor Dwayne as I served as a resident.
As I started in July, it was hard to get a grasp on how things were supposed to go, but I slowly began to get into a groove. Meanwhile, Dwayne and I were having conversations about planting a church in the next few years. My wife and I could not figure out where we wanted to plant, so we kept praying and talking about our options. All we knew at that point was that I wanted to pastor and lead, but I didn’t feel ready for it.
Everything was going great. I was finally in a groove with my job and residency. Really, I was getting comfortable, but God saw fit to change that quickly. In one of our meetings Dwayne asked me about a replant opportunity only 15 minutes up the road. Of course, I was interested because my wife is from this area and we love being around Wake Forest. On top of that, we would still be able to keep our network of friends, mentors, and family. Things snowballed from there, within two months the church voted to align itself under Pillar and try to replant itself.
I am now in the beginning stages of the replant and like I said, it has been a whirlwind, but the Lord has been teaching me things along the way. Here are five things I’ve learned over the past year, going from resident to pastor:
- Time with God is essential
- I have been following Jesus for almost 20 years, and my personal time with the Lord has been up and down over the course of that time. But can I except to lead people if I am not seeking the Lord every day? It’s hard and this is the busiest I have ever been. Even still, I must carve out time with my Lord and God.
- God is Faithful
- When we were first thinking about leading the church my wife and I began to think about people who would consider coming with us. We made a huge list and started contacting them. Over the course of the last few months we have had people join our efforts, and most of them were not on that first list. God has brought some awesome people to us and even other churches who want to partner with us. Even if the people I wanted to come say no, God is still faithful to continue the work of his church.
- You are never ready to pastor people
- I have learned over the last two months that no one is ever ready to pastor people. Becoming and growing as a pastor takes time and experience. Within the first 3 weeks I was in the hospital visiting church members and even had a death in my church. God uses these times to refocus you and make you rely on him more.
- Things happen much faster than you think
- I know I have said it already, but the last few months have flown by. There are so many tasks that need to be completed, so many people to see, but there is still a sermon to prep for and vision to develop. If you are going to pastor, make sure you understand yourself and your calendar, if not, you will be time’s servant.
- Relationships are key
- One of the biggest encouragements to me has been the people that God has placed in my life to not only help me through this process, but to just be there for me when times are hard. I’ve already had friends encourage and strengthen me and it has been refreshing to connect with my new church members. Growing these relationships are crucial as we keep seeking the Lord as a church.
For me, becoming a pastor was like stepping into my dream job. I just didn’t think that It would start so soon. The Lord has been teaching me a lot over the last few months and I hope that I can continue to grow and help impact people with the gospel.
Pray for Cody and Ashlee as they are replanting in the Wake Forest area. Here are some specific things you could pray for:
- the Lord to continue to bring the right people to the team
- unity within the church as they replant
- favor as they begin to reach the community with the gospel
Former Raleigh Resident
Wake Forest, NC