Growing Forward



Several years ago I read Ken Callahan's book, "A New Beginning for Pastors and Congregations". Callahan offers suggestions on how pastors and congregations can have a healthy future together, whether they are new or beginning again.

Callahan challenged the long taught and accepted approach to ministry that pastors must not change anything in the first year. On the contrary, Callahan offers the premise that the first three days, weeks, and months set the tone for years to follow.

"In the first few days and weeks, you and your congregation teach one another whom you plan to be together. Many pastors, in these early days, constructively teach their congregation that they plan to be a good shepherd, a helpful preacher, a wise and caring leader, a community pastor. Many congregations participate in helping this constructive beginning to grow forward."

Callahan goes on to say that pastors should make two changes in themselves for every one change they expect from the congregation. Leaders lead by example.

"We cherish change and flexibility in others but overlook the need for personal change. The key is our own personal range of growth and flexibility."

As a leader, pastoral or lay leadership, what changes are you willing to make in yourself this year?

May we all examine ourselves and trust God to help us grow forward.

Rev. Denise Walton serves as the Assistant to the Bishop for Connectional Ministries. Contact her at