A few weeks ago marked the one year anniversary of moving to Gilbert, AZ. After eight years of leading NextGen in Austin, TX – I got to start over. I have to admit, I was pretty excited for round two.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told people, “I wish I knew what I know now when I started as a NextGen pastor.” The first several years were spent learning a new role and figuring everything out. Everything was brand new. It took me five years to build my team. It was the best team I’d ever been a part of. The NextGen ministry wasn’t perfect (there’s always room for improvement) but it felt like we were unstoppable. What I couldn’t get out of my mind though was how long it took me to build the ministry. Five years is a long time. I felt that if I had a chance to do it all over again, I’d do it in half the time.

The first year is a critical year. I meet with many new NextGen/Family Ministry Pastors who ask me, “What should I do first?” My answer was usually, “Not what I did!” But that’s the beauty of a fresh start.

Last September, I stepped into my second NextGen Pastor role. The first time around, I had dreams of what this ministry could look like. The second time around, what I want the ministry to look like is something I’ve already done. That’s a key difference. The first time around, I didn’t even know what I didn’t know. The second time around, I’m much more clear on what I don’t know.

Recently, I was a guest on Nick Blevin’s Family Ministry Podcast (Episode 67 to come out 8/22/17). We talked about this idea of your first year in a NextGen role. I shared five things that a NextGen/Family Ministry Pastor needs to focus on in his/her first year. Over the next few days, I’m going to unpack each of those five things right here at iamnextgen.com.