Every pastor has a list of things they’ve learned. Here are 10 that I’ve learned in the last nine years I’ve been a pastor in no specific order. It’s geared for other young pastors.
1. If you look young, you’re going to get the “young” comment. Everyone tells me it’s not a curse, but being a pastor in his early thirties that can still pass as a college student has some major drawbacks. Every church I have served in I have gotten this comment in one form or another, “You look so young.”
The problem with this comment is many times the attitude that comes with it is a belief that because you look so young it’s difficult to take you seriously and believe that you really know what you’re talking about.
2. Not everyone has the same goals as you. Not everyone is going to have the same goals for the church as you do. Don’t go in guns a blazing with your goals expecting everyone else to fall in line. Ministry doesn’t work that way. Ministry is servant leadership.
3. Learn to say “No.” If you can’t say “No” you’re going to be in trouble. Church members will expect certain things from you and if you’re always saying “Yes,” it means you’re saying “No” to your family. Your family should come before your job. Also, by always saying “Yes” you are enabling church members to avoid realizing the Spiritual Gifts and the ministry that God has given them.
4. Check your ego at the door. You’re not the most important person at church. Your ego may say otherwise, but remember Christ is the head of the church, not you.
5. Listen, listen, listen. So often we think we know the answers to everything. Listening is a difficult skill to learn. Listening is not taught at University or Seminary. Church members will thank you if you can make sure that you really and truly listen to their concerns when they share with you. Don’t be looking around for the next person to talk with, listen.
6. Read regularly. This is a tough one. With everything that a pastor does, how in the world do you spend time reading? Reading is where you will get your sermon ideas, illustrations, continue your education, and help you better your skills as a pastor. Aim to read between 15-20 non-fiction books a year.
7. Mentor someone. Andy Stanley says it best, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone!” The church needs its members to be involved in ministry. You shouldn’t do it all. Your family will suffer, your personal life will suffer, your health will suffer. This goes along with number 3.
8. Exercise regularly. Without exercise our bodies become out of shape. Just like we must exercise our mind (see number 6) we also must exercise our bodies. Christ saved us so that He could use us. Let’s give Him the best we can give Him.
9. Make sure your available times are clearly stated. Be clear about when you’ll be in the office. Set up some office time so that if people want to meet you at the office you can tell them the times you are available.
10. Don’t neglect prayer and personal worship. And this doesn’t mean spend time reading the Bible in the section that you’ll be preaching on this week. Spend time abiding in Christ, spend time in prayer, spend time for your soul, not for your job.
I hope you enjoyed these 10 things I’ve learned. If you have anything you’ve learned or think that I have missed, go ahead and leave a comment letting me know what you have learned.