These pages are for the busy pastor or other church leader. Worship materials, administrative helps, recreation ideas, Bible studies and even sermons are included in this tool chest for the church leader. You can use these materials freely, as long as appropriate credit is given.
We are expanding our Worship Leader's Guidebook to have a multitude of resources. The worship resources are still here - just click the Worship Leader's Guidebook below. Some areas are still under construction, but the office helps, sermons and worship materials are ready to use.
Administration -- help to hire, evaluate, terminate, and motivate staff members; sample policies; etc.
Ideally, move into the community
two weeks prior to starting in the new ministry.Let the family settle in.Find new doctors, dentists, health clubs,
Arrange to have a public start
date that is different from your real start date.Don’t announce the day you go on the payroll,
but announce the date of your “first Sunday in the pulpit.”This will allow you to be able to attend
worship with your family.Arrive at the
last minute and take a seat in a pew like anyone else.Join the coffee hour.Observe how the elders and others greet
you.You will never again have this
opportunity to access your new church from the eyes of a visitor.This will also give you time to set up your
office.Before your first official
visit, you’re your books on the shelves and the degrees on the wall.
Remember that the impression you
give in the first few months will be the expectation people have of you for
years to come.Do the things as you want
to continue to do them for many years to come.
Lay out a schedule for time off
and stick to it.It is tempting to work
7 days a week for the first few weeks.Don’t.Ministry, as we all like
to say, is not a sprint but a marathon.Pace yourself.
Don’t focus on work. Focus on people. Focus on socializing and enjoying the company
of the parishioners.Let them enjoy and
feel comfortable in your presence.Get
to know the sheep of your new flock.It
will help to have your first three months of preaching primarily from your last
church.There is nothing wrong with
using a few oldie but goldies from your preaching barrel – especially now.
Plan your installation service
with care.Sunday service time is best,
but sometimes impossible in some churches or denominations.Whatever time it is held, be sure that
brevity is stressed to all participants.Most installation services involve a number of people, with each person
speaking a wee bit too long, so that taken together the entire service is way
No changes in the worship service
the first week.Change it with the
Focus on that first sermon.This is not the sermon you can afford to mess
Find out who is in the hospital
the day you arrive, and visit them immediately.
Find out who the shut-ins are and
visit them during the first month.
Find out who the recently bereaved
might be, and visit them during the first month.Visiting the sick, shut-ins and recently
bereaved quickly will help you to focus on the needs of the people, and it will
help the people understand that you care about them.
Make contact with the entire
congregation in the first year – of course, in most congregations that will be
impossible.A good way to do this is to
have someone organize small group meetings in the church and visit a dozen or
two per week.Not everyone will sign up
for these small groups, but it will enable you to personally contact and
interact with most of the congregation as soon as possible.Since the smaller the church, the more there
is an expectation of the pastor to visit than in the larger church – the larger
the church the less vital it is to visit those who would not sign up for a
small group experience.
Make contact with the Inactive
Members, if there is such a list.The
presence of a new pastor might be all the catalyst that is required for these
folks to return to church.
Get to know the staff.Pay particular attention to the first staff
meeting, but then take each pastor and program director out for lunch, one on
one, or one on two.Ask them to review
their official job description and have them tell you what their real job
is.Ask them “what can I do to help you.”Communicate that you want to work with
them, not boss them around.Build a
sense that “we’re in this together as a team.”
On day one, have the secretary
place your desk the past three months of board and committee minutes.Read these recent minutes and find out what
has been happening recently.
At the first board meeting, go
around the room and introduce everyone.Ask the board for their personal hopes and dreams.Assure the board you will be praying for them
by name every day, and ask them to do the same for you.
Meet with every committee of the
church during the first two months.
Get to know the judicatory.Visit the office of the presbytery, diocese,
or district.Introduce yourself to its
office staff.Make yourself available to
them to serve them.Ask if there is an
orientation for new pastors in the judicatory.If you are asked to serve on a committee of your judicatory, take it,
but also ask that you need at least 6 months to settle in before taking on a
Find out who the other pastors are
in the area.Take them out to
lunch.Pay attention to the other
pastors of your denomination, but also the pastors of other denominations who
are very close to your church.
Find out what civic organizations
the previous pastor joined.Find out if
there is an organization a substantial number in your church are part of, and
Get to know the community,
especially if it is a small community.Be
visible at community meetings.
From the first week, start sending
birthday cards to all of the parishioners.Get a volunteer to help by addressing the envelopes and putting the birth date
on the envelope where the stamp will go.If a volunteer prepares these a month or two ahead of time, the pastor
can sign the cards leisurely from time to time.Sometimes the cards might be a simple signature, but at first these
might have a note, “I’m honored to be serving as your pastor and hope that we
can get to know each other” or “I want to thank you for being part of the
choir.I’ve been impressed by it during
my first few weeks.”These will help you
get to know them and for the members to get to know you.We rarely thank the usher who is there every
week, or the one who pulls the weeds in the church courtyard and these birthday
cards are a great way to offer a pastor such an opportunity.
1.Turn off the television for a while.It is tempting to camp in front of the
television, because we are hungry for news and answers.Avoid having the television news on in front
of young children today and tomorrow, but get your news quietly online.
the events with children.Allow them to talk about the events.They probably don’t want information about
what happened, but rather to be comforted that they are safe.After a disaster in the news, a child wants
to know, "Will my house be bombed,” or “will a hurricane hit my house,” or
“will someone shot guns in MY school.”Children
tend to personalize events that happen on the world stage. Explain how you've always been there to care
for your child and how he has always been safe. Confirm that you will help him stay safe in
3.Continue routines.So much of a child's sense of safety and security comes from daily
rituals and routine. Let the children eat lunch at the normal time. They need
their usual afternoon nap. Let them go to their sporting events.
4.Respect your child's interest in the event.Your
child might not want to talk about the event today.Next week it might be different.Look carefully for nonverbal clues; listen intently
to what the child says. Follow the child’s lead.If your child asks, "What happened at
that school," that is an indication the child wants to know and is ready
to talk about it.“Someone went into the
building and shot some people,” may be all that is needed.The child probably does not need a 10 minute
discussion with a lot of details.
5.Include the event in
evening prayers.Ask that God would keep
all children safe, “especially us and our friends.”(Remember, children are focused on themselves
most, and a prayer for others may also include a prayer for us).
Children respond to traumatic
events in many different ways. A child might have a reaction very soon after an
event.Others may seem fine for weeks or
even months.Parents should be aware of
knowing the signs that are common at different ages.This can help the family to recognize
problems and respond appropriately.
Children from age 1 to 5 find it
particularly hard to adjust to change and loss. These children have not yet
developed their own coping skills, so they must depend on parents, family
members, and teachers to help them through difficult times.At this age, the child may regress to an earlier
behavioral stage.Preschoolers may resume
thumb sucking or bedwetting.The child
might become afraid of strangers, animals, darkness, or imaginary “monsters.” The
child might become physically clingy, holding tight to a parent or teach or
even a place. Changes in eating and sleeping habits are common, as are physical
aches and pains.Parents may also see in
the child being disobedient or hyperactive.The child may show behavior that is aggressive or withdrawn.Preschoolers may tell exaggerated stories
about the traumatic event or may speak of it over and over.
Children age 5 to 11 may have
some of the same reactions as younger children. They may also withdraw from friends.They may not be interested in their usual
play groups.They may compete more for
the attention of parents.Fear going to
school is not uncommon after a traumatic incident, so a parent might especially
anticipate this type of behavior after a school shooting in the news. The child
may find it hard to concentrate. These children may also return to more
childish behaviors, such as asking to be fed or dressed.
Children age 12 to 14 are likely to
have vague physical complaints.They may
ignore their usual chores or school work.A child might compete vigorously for attention from parents and teachers,
or they may also withdraw, resist authority, become disruptive at home or in
the classroom, or even begin to experiment with
high-risk behaviors such as alcohol
or drug use.
How to Help
Reassure your child.
Very young children need a lot of cuddling, as well as verbal support.
Answer questions about the event honestly, but without a lot of scary details.
Encourage children of all ages to express emotions through conversation, drawing, or painting and to find a way to help others who were affected by the disaster.
Try to maintain a normal routine
Temporarily reduce your expectations about performance in school or at home.
Welcome to a place where you can find fun things to do for all ages - whether it is a senior citizen's dinner or a quick story or game to occupy young children waiting for the pizza to be delivered on youth night.
These games are arranged by the degree of physical activity - Low, Medium or High. They are also arranged by the age group - Elementary, Youth, Adult, Senior Adult. There is also a category for Intergenerational games.