How to Thrive as a Type-B Pastor
The man’s desk was impressive. It was big, shiny, and obviously very expensive. But what was more impressive to me was how clean it was. No stacks of paper, no post it notes, nothing except a computer and a legal pad. I had come to visit a local business man to talk about some issues that he could offer advice on. He gave good advice, but when I left I kept that thinking about that clean desk.
I did pass several assistants on the way in, to be sure. But I could have the same number of assistants and my desk would still be filled with post it notes, books half read, and lots of piles of paper. It’s just the way my mind works. I still manage to get everything done, but I’m as Type B as they come. No matter how hard I try, I’ll never be one of those Type A pastors who finish their to do list every day. It’s not for lack of trying. I have read all about ‘Getting Things Done” and I have tried most of the best to-do apps out there. It helps a little bit, but at the end I’m just a slightly more organized version of myself. Being type-B is not just a matter of administration, though. As a type-B person I enjoy thinking about the future but I have problems exciting plans to make that future happen. It’s too easy for me to wander off task and I freely admit I have problems staying focused.
This is not to say that type-A’s are the model, either. Some of you type-A’s need to loosen up, and some of us type-B’s need to tighten up some more. God calls all types of men to pastor. As a single pastor in a small church, there are always lots of things to accomplish. Packets for kids camp, outreach planning, Sunday School material to order, and more. All of these things are more have to be done. I can spend a lot of time trying to make myself be someone that I am not, that type-A who gets it all done. Or I can learn to be the best me I can be. How can someone thrive as a type-B pastor?
- Find and organizational method that works for you. No matter your personality type, you need to be able to stay on top of things. Don’t worry about what other people do, find something that works for you. At the end of every day I make a list of what needs to be done the next day. I don’t always accomplish the list on the next day, but that list keeps me on task. That might not work for you, but keep working until you find a method that works for you. It might be post it notes, it might be apps on your phone, or old school pen and paper. But keep going until you hit the right method.
- Learn to delegate. One of my deacons gave me the sage advice his boss gave him when he started in school administration: “Your job is to do anything you can’t talk someone else into doing.” That might be a bit simplistic, but the principle is true. You might not be good at keeping up with the church calendar, or making sure that Sunday School teachers have all that they need, but there are people in your church body that God has gifted for just such a task. When you let go of the things that you are not good at, then you can focus more on your strengths. Even if your church doesn’t have the budget for a full time secretary, look for those ways you can both empower volunteers in your church and focus on your strengths at the same time.
- Don’t try to be somebody else. When you see people on Twitter who read a book a day, write four sermons a week, get up and 4:30 to pray for two hours, are always at the hospital to care for their members, and are at every event for their kids it can be easy to become discouraged. We think we will never be that way. But God made you to be just who you are, and no one else. God will be glorified when you are the best version of yourself that you can be.
God knows exactly what kind of pastor your church needed. God called you to be the under shepherd at that church and not someone else. This doesn’t meant you shouldn’t learn how to be better at what you do. It means God’s plan for the leading of your church is you, not another pastor with different gifts. Quit second guessing God and learn to thrive as the type of person that you are.