I’ve always been one to seek out people who are more experienced than me for advice.
When I was a sixth grader, I looked up to the high schoolers in my church with great respect. I would pester them with things like, “Here is the downlow on the girl I like… what do I do from here??”
In late middle school when I began to feel that I was called to ministry, I first emailed my aunt who is a UMC pastor and then talked with others who had been on the same journey before I shared it with friends.
Throughout highschool I had breakfast with the leaders of my youth group once a week at Ms. Winners Chicken and Biscuits. There, I threw all of my life questions at three men who were willing to listen and shoot me straight.
A few weeks back, some people invited me to play volleyball with them. I hadn’t played in years so I watched volleyball tutorials on Youtube for about an hour before I went.
Now, I’m a pastor. So naturally I’ve been asking older pastors for advice as I begin on this path.
Fortunately for me, each July I get to spend a week with pastors from all over the nation at Salem Campmeeting. Last I heard, there are currently 25 people in ordained ministry who claim that Salem Campmeeting played a defining role in their Christian life. Plus, there are always two great pastors who share the duty of preaching the 12+ services during the week.
Some of the pastors I get to spend time with every year serve at mega-churches. Some teach at schools of theology. Some serve multiple rural churches. Some pastor churches like the one down the street from your house. And some have spent a great deal of time with the global church. These pastors are Presbyterians, Baptists, and Methodists — a neapolitan assortment.
This year when I spent the week at campmeeting, after working as a pastor for only 2 weeks, I solicited wisdom from these older and wiser pastors.
I asked each of them, “What one piece of advice would you give to a young pastor?” Here’s what I heard:
1. Always remember that God calls you to be faithful, not “successful.”
2. Don’t be lazy.
3. Find someone to hold you truly accountable and ask you questions like: How is your soul? What are you filling your heart and mind with? How are you, really?
3. Remember that it is about the Kingdom of God, not the church.
4. Seek to do the will of God in all things.
5. Trust that God will use your appointment that comes through the Bishop.
6. Love your people well.
7. Don’t be so busy working at the church and talking about Jesus that you forget to be in a relationship with Jesus.
Veteran pastors, what would you add to this list?
Veteran church-goers, what would you add?
Non-Christians, what would you add?
Happy to see we are cool enough to make it into your blog. 🙂
This isn’t relevant to you now, but coming from a pastor’s family, I would say to find a healthy balance between work, the church, and your family. My parents did a phenomenal job at this.
I am so thankful that I was a pastor’s kid for so long, but only because my parents had their priorities straight and didn’t neglect my spiritual life for work. Many times my dad would put aside meetings or hospital visits to spend time with us.
Now go make an instructional YouTube video on how to play volleyball. 🙂
Great piece of advice! And even though I don’t have a family now, keeping the balance between the church and friends/personal time is one thing I’m already having to navigate. I’m encouraged to see the fruit of your dad’s discipline.
Ed Stetzer had a great tweet the other day when he posted, “When scheduling meetings & responsibilities w/ others, always remember that only one advocating for your family is you.”
Some of the advice I’ve gotten through FB, email, and twitter since posting this:
“Don’t touch the money….don’t touch the women…don’t touch the glory.”
“Preach the radical gospel of Jesus Christ and expect to have critics and opposition but even more than that, expect to see lives changed for God’s glory.
I’ve been reading the book of Acts over and over again and I see time and again the Apostles preaching Jesus with two responses: some scorned and mocked them while others believed in their message and had their hearts transformed. Both should be expected for us as well if we are preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. We shouldn’t shy from conflict and opposition and we shouldn’t be that surprised to see lives transformed. These two outcomes are normal when preaching the gospel of grace.” – Loved this since I’m currently preaching through Acts on Wednesday nights.