A Letter to Pastors

April 18, 2012 — Leave a comment

Things Every Young Pastor May Want to Know

For those of you who are not in full time pastoral ministry, a lot of this may not apply. You may, however, be able to use some of these in your life somewhere. For those pastors out there, this is just a bunch of stuff I either learned from someone somewhere or I learned the hard way. I am no expert, but I am an expert at learning from mistakes. So we may as well suffer together. Here are a few things you may want to know:

  • It’s not about you and it’s not about them. Too many pastors, including me, sometimes think ministry is either about how well they prepare, or how many people they reach, or how much money is given. We also have a tendency to think it is all about the people. All of these are important, but they are not what we are called primarily called to do. It really is all about God. Remember Jesus said Love God first. So make sure you are doing what HE wants and calls you to do before you get wrapped around you and the people.
  • Get out of your office. We all have the tendency to find ourselves locked in our church offices. I find it funny that we sit in our chairs beckoning the people to “come hither and receive the wisdom from on high.” You probably don’t say that but it is a picture of how us pastors act sometimes. Listen, it is basic — you can’t reach people sitting in your office. You can deal with problems, do some planning, and play solitaire, but the real action is outside those doors. Take people to lunch. Visit hospitals and nursing homes (this,by the way, is not my greatest strength), have lunch at every school where you have a student from your youth group. Get out and be seen.
  • It’s a simple message. When I started in ministry, I wanted to prepare the most impactful sermon ever week after week. I was so consumed by this that I spent 90% of my time in preparation and 10% of my time in ministry. I was basically a public speaker. Now don’t get me wrong, preparation is key, but I think the numbers should look different. Too many young guys spend all of their time trying to prepare the next Sermon on the Mount. Spend 20% of your time preparing, 20% of your time creating, 30% of your time leading your team and 30% of your time with others in the community. Maybe these could be tweaked one way or the other, but don’t get so wrapped up in what you are going to say.
  • The guy down the street is the guy down the street. When I first started in ministry 11 years ago, I hit the ground running trying to be just like whatever the most successful ministry was at the time. I learned over time that this was a huge mistake. A few problems occurred…I was not being true to who I was. I didn’t let my true self shine. (Side note here…churches have this problem as well. The most successful churches are those who don’t feel the need to change a slogan or the wrapping on the package, but are those who stay true to who they are). Be yourself. You are robbing your group from experiencing the gifts God has given you to fulfill what He has called you to do. Remember David wasn’t Saul, just like Peter wasn’t Paul. Don’t compare. Be You!!

These are just a few things… I will add some more periodically. I hope this helps!

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