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Joe Kendrick: My Guiding Principles

Posted: 7/6/17 at 8:00am. Article by Joe Kendrick

Being a pastor is more than preaching, it is more than being in charge, it is more than visiting people in the hospital, leading Bible studies and prayer meetings. While those are aspects of the job, being a pastor is about leadership. It is being able to make hard decisions for the betterment of the church and God’s movement.

It is being to bear the burden of being thought a bad guy (girl) when the hard decision you make ruffles feathers.

It is being able to be and stay grounded in prayer, scripture, and the security of your call.

It is being able to love your congregation as you walk with them through the valley of shadow. It is being able to separate yourself from the role of pastor.

It is about being grounded in principle.

Edwin Friedman said guided principles are clear self-identifying statements on how the leader will function in an intense emotional system.

These are my guiding principles:

  1. I will not assume a person’s motive when the person challenges an idea.
  2. I will humble myself before God daily.
  3. I will offer compassion, forgiveness, healing, aid, and covenant faithfulness to those in need.
  4. I will see each member as an individual created in the image of God.
  5. I will mourn what is wrong and sincerely repent.
  6. I will not avoid conflict and I will stay connected with those who I am in conflict with unless doing so is harmful for restoration.
  7. I will hunger and thirst for a justice that restores to covenant community.
  8. I will walk alongside my congregation until I am unable to do so and I will part with them as friends.
  9. I will acknowledge where able the vicious cycles of alienation that exist within the church.
  10. I will strive to turn my adversary into my brother or sister by seeing that person as a child of God
  11. I will love my neighbor as myself.
  12.  I will ground myself in the principles of humility and meekness.
  13. I will take principled public stands by clearly stating what I believe.
  14. I will not knowingly create triangles through gossip.
  15. I will not compromise my principles for the sake of acceptance during heated moments.
  16. I will speak from a place of humble confidence.

Being a pastor is hard work. Jon Bon Jovi once told me working for God was one the greatest jobs a person could have. It is indeed hard work, but it is good work. You will thrive if you ground yourself in guiding principles.

Rev. Dr. Joe Kendrick is the pastor at Black Creek Baptist Church, Mechanicsville. Joe is a recent graduate of the Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond with a Doctorate of Ministry in Justice and Peacebuilding. Read more about him here.

He originally published this blogpost on his blog.

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