After over 25 years of full-time pastoral ministry, I believe I have a reasonably good understanding of how it works. Or how it doesn’t.
So what are those things that a pastor needs to avoid if he or she will have both an effective ministry and a vibrant spiritual life?
Here are some thoughts . . .
1. Listening Too Closely To Your Critics. And To Your Fans. The reality is that most pastors are neither as “bad” (or sinful or heretical or egotistical) as their critics claim. Neither are they as “good” (or holy or impactful or humble) as their fans declare. Making ministry decisions or deriving personal identity based on the words of either group is asking for trouble.
2. Acting On Impulse. Most major mistakes of my time in ministry have occurred when adrenaline got in the way of wisdom.
3. Fear Of Failure. On the other hand, my tendency towards vacillation when it comes to big picture items has not served the church well.
4. Reading The Bible Only For Sermon Prep. Our recent Text Message series was a revelation for me and in me. It got me reading Scripture out loud every day. It’s the best way I’ve found to meditate on God’s word in a fashion that has nothing to do with Sunday’s sermon.
5. Lack Of Personal Generosity. I know of pastors who seldom give or give very little to the churches they serve. Wow. How can you grow a generous church without making that personal commitment as a leader?