SBTS profs on first pastorate: Bill Henard

Communications Staff — August 28, 2009

This is the second post of a seven-part series running each Friday. Bill Henard serves as assistant professor of evangelism and church growth at Southern Seminary and as senior pastor of Porter Memorial Baptist Church in Lexington, Ky. Henard is co-editor of Evangelicals Engaging Emergent: A Discussion of the Emergent Church Movement.

First position/length. Eagan Baptist Church, Eagan, Tennessee.  Eight months-I was a 20-year-old college student, in way over my head.  I had never even attended Vacation Bible School until I led my first one myself.

Early mistakes/lessons. I called on someone to close the service in prayer and he responded, “No, thank you.”  I learned that not everyone is on equal ground spiritually or in service.  Be careful to know your people before you put them on the spot.  It was a small mistake (the first of many), but it was one that could have had an adverse effect on my leadership ability if I repeated the same mistake in a much larger venue.  It taught me to start with where people are, not with where they ought to be.

Words of wisdom. Personally visit your leadership and listen to their dreams.  Work on your people skills.  Be a people person, but not a manipulator.  Be humble and thankful for the position you have.  Learn to love your people and sincerely tell them that you love them.  Pace yourself.  Don’t die on every hill; some are not worth dying on.  Don’t be a church hopper, looking for the next bigger and better deal.  Don’t go in with both guns blazing; you will hit some innocent people when you do.

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