Kevin Miller has served as a writer, editor, and director at Christianity Today for nearly three decades. After being ordained and working as an associate at a larger Anglican church, he now serves as the rector of Church of the Savior in Wheaton, Illinois.

The church had been planted a little over a decade before Kevin arrived, and he knew it would take some time to understand this new community and what it would take to lead them faithfully.

I had the chance to sit down with Kevin to talk about this experience. Entering into the life of a new and growing parish offers challenges to a first-time rector that are distinct from the issues facing a church planter. In this case, Kevin wasn’t shaping the vision from nothing—he was trying to understand how to enter into the life of a church already in motion. As he describes it, it’s the difference between constructing a brand new home and remodeling an existing one. You have to have an eye for how things could improve while respecting the load-bearing walls that need to stay standing.

In this video, Kevin lends his insight into this process, which consisted of lots and lots of listening. As he explains, he wanted to understand the leaders, the location, and the loves of this parish. And while respecting where the parish had been, he worked to make clear how his own gifts would bring a new vision to the church, as well.

Any church leader can glean wisdom from Kevin’s story. Take a moment to check it out: