blog-cp_lessons (1)

My friends at The Summit Network asked me to write about lessons I learned in my first year of pastoring.  After mulling it over here are three lessons that God taught me in my first year.

#1 – Weakness is a good thing

I’ve never felt so inadequate as I did in my first year at Awaken.  At times I felt like I was going to have a panic attack and at others I felt so depressed that I didn’t want to do anything. Suprisingly, these feelings came during seasons of growth at our church. I could always quote Paul’s famous words in 2 Corinthians 12 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness”, but those words didn’t come alive to me until this past year.  In a supernatural way, I am learning how my weakness is a good thing.

#2 – Preach Hard Sermons

Martin Lloyd Jones famously said “Soft preaching produces hard people, but hard preaching produces soft people.” Meaning: sermons that don’t get to the heart of the text, call people to repent, and show them the supremacy of Christ might entertain but they won’t produce the one thing that we need to live the life God calls us to: humility. Contrary to some popular belief, I’ve experienced that the majority of my people really want to hear the bold truth of God’s word. Sugar coating a text for the sake of “tickling someone’s ears” might feel good in the moment, but it’s not doing my people any good.

#3 – Don’t lead alone

As a Church Planting pastor, the temptation to do too much on my own will always be there. It’s sometimes hard to see that God has surrounded me with people who can help and do things BETTER than I can. Yes, there’s a danger in placing people in leadership too early. However, I’ve found that it’s perhaps more dangerous to wait too long to unleash people to help you do the work of the ministry.

So there are three big things that God has taught me after year one, I hope they can be of help to other pastors and planters out there who are seeking to faithfully lead God’s church.

Matt Hahn (@matthahn14) is the lead pastor of Awaken Church in Columbia, S.C. a partner church of The Summit Network. For more information about Awaken Church visit