8. Determine boundaries if you’re single.
Unmarried women pastors (whether never married, widowed, or divorced) face unique challenges. You must have boundaries in place for hospital visits, counseling sessions, and parishioner interaction. You must be careful how you touch members, what you wear, and even which invitations you accept. A safeguard I used when I became a widow was to record counseling sessions (with permission), have an elder with me in the field, and have the church secretary nearby at church. A significant positive to being an unmarried female pastor is that there is more freedom in scheduling time for self care: meditation, hobbies, and time with friends. Being a single pastor can be a good thing, but you will want to take extra measures to protect yourself.
9. If you’ll be co-pastoring, decide each person’s roles.
I interviewed several co-pastors, and they all shared that they have equal yet different responsibilities, each working from their own strengths. Deciding ahead of time how this will play out practically will avoid a lot of headaches. For instance, who will be the visionary? Who will preach? Who will attend meetings? Which responsibilities will you share, and which will be solely up to one of you? How will you make decisions if you disagree about something?
10. Have someone in your life outside your family that you can trust.
This person should be spiritually mature enough to see your humanity and still respect you. They could serve as a prayer partner, an accountability partner, or a spiritual covering. Give them the authority to speak truth and life, correction and discipline. A person who is not accountable to anyone is easy prey for the devil.
11. Do not allow the numbers in the pews on any given Sunday to affect how you minister.
Whether there’s a handful or there are hundreds, give your best. This can be particularly challenging for new church planters when the numbers are small and vary greatly week-to-week. Regardless, these are God’s people who are assigned to you. Feed his sheep.
12. Stay true to the vision God has given to you.
Do not compete or imitate those around you. It’s easy to look around at other church planters and compare your ministry. Your special anointing and spiritual gifts are needed in your community. God has called you to these people for a reason.