What are some practical ways for a new pastor to get to know his church and its community?

  1. Learn everything you can about your people. Get to know them by name. Learn how they became Christians, what their experience at the church has been like, and what they are struggling with and encouraged by in the church.
  2. Study the church’s history. Read the minutes of past business meetings. Learn all you can about the founding of the church. Learn whether or not the church’s statement of faith and covenant have been altered over the years. And don’t neglect your church’s old-timers, the people who have been around for decades. Ask them about the church’s traditions, long-standing policies, and anything else you can think of. This will give you a wealth of information and will go a long way toward earning their trust.
  3. Spend time with your church’s leaders. Visit them at their workplaces. Learn about their families, history, gifting, and strengths. Ask them about how you can pray for them. Ask them about how they think you can best serve the church.
  4. Meet with other pastors in your area. They can give you a sense of your church’s reputation and teach you about the community.
  5. Meet with city officials. Ask them questions like, “How is the community changing? What are the community’s needs as you see them? Is there anything I can pray for? Is there anything the church can do to serve the community?”
  6. Get to know your neighbors. Introduce yourself to those who live and work near you. Get to know them. Find out ways to serve them.

(This material has been adapted from Bob Johnson’s article, “A Pastor’s Priorities for Day One”)

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