I came across a great quote by Houston Chronicle writer John McClain on a sports blog I read. When asked if he thought current assistant coach and former player Bruce Matthews would one day be in a head coaching position McClain said, “No, but I never saw Nick Saban in one, either. In his two seasons with the Oilers, he was so quiet that when he went to Toledo I wondered how could he ever recruit with a personality like that. Turns out he was hiding it, watching and learning as young coaches should be doing.” Of course Nick Saban now is one of the best college football coaches today (currently at Alabama).
As I read that I thought what great advice that is for men who sense a call to pastoral ministry. Watch, listen, and learn. I had the privilege of serving three congregations as a staff member before becoming pastor at Memorial. I served under four pastors, an interim pastor, and worked with or under other staff members. There were many times I thought I knew better or would do it better but in hindsight those thoughts were often born from ignorance and lack of experience. It is a great deal different when you are in the position of pastoral leadership. I’m thankful for those men and all I learned from them but do wish I’d kept my mouth closed and my ego in check more often. I’m trying not to continue making that mistake by “watching and learning” from those who have done this much longer with great faithfulness.