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A few weeks after my second pastorate began, the deacon chairman said to me, "Now, son, you just preach, visit the sick, and care for the old folks. The board will set the agenda for everything else."

Situations like this weren't covered in seminary. So I began pondering my role in that church. I quickly realized that a number of questions needed to be answered: Who sets the pastor's agenda? The board? The congregation? The pastor alone? Do I look exclusively at my gifts and calling, or do I yield to others who want to give direction? Who really is responsible for my ministry activities?

Eventually, I found that by following these steps, many of those questions were answered.

 Start with the givens. Every pastor quickly learns the "givens"-duties that go with the territory: visiting the sick, conducting weddings and funerals, counseling, preparing and delivering sermons. This is a large part of what any church board expects. As pastor, I must squeeze these essential jobs into my schedule. ...

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