Some Lessons I’ve Learned

While these aren’t all the lessons I’ve learned in 25 years of full-time parish ministry, they are the ones freshest on my mind this week . . .

  • People like it when you remember their names.
  • The more digital our culture becomes, the more effective are hand-written notes.
  • Breath mints and deodorant are under-rated tools in ministry.
  • If you resent the success of other pastors, you probably won’t achieve your own.
  • The more satisfied/righteous/vindicated you feel when you hit the “Send” button, the more likely you are to have made a serious mistake.
  • Sometimes the people you think aren’t listening are being the most influenced by what you say.
  • The Gospel has its own power and you need to resist every temptation to dilute it.
  • A good novel will give you as many sermons as a collection of . . . sermons.
  • The more people tell you how much better you are than their last pastor, the more likely you are to become their next former pastor.
  • People who yell the loudest have the most to hide.
  • Two-by-two door knocking ministry still works.
  • When you notice that people have missed a few Sundays in church and you call them up, simply tell them that you miss them.  They’ll either offer an explanation or not.  Most people like being missed and don’t care for being interrogated.
  • Ministry works so much better when you express daily thanks for the fact that Jesus died for your sins and rose from the dead as the first fruits of your own ultimate resurrection.