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What Would You Do Differently?

I confess, my friend Michael’s post on his first and only pastorate bothered me. It bothered me not in the story it told but in the way it shook me awake. It’s certainly a post that needs to be read and studied not just by pastors but by churches and their leadership. Michael wrote this post one week into my current appointment. It’s my first time out on my own having been an associate pastor for almost five years.

I’m 31 years old, the same age Michael was when he became the pastor of the church he writes about. I easily saw myself making mistakes and being tortured the same ways he was – I have a pretty good imagination. I can’t do a thing about the way people or churches treat me or my family, but it occurred to me that I can do something about the way I live and serve and react when difficult times come along. So, I decided to try to be as wise as possible. Michael wrote:

I knew the job of the pastor from being close to pastors for many years. I understood pastoral skills. But I did not know or have the character of a pastor. Most new pastors don’t. I should have been mentored- actively- by older men in the ministry. Instead, like Rehoboam, I made other young pastors my friends and confidants.

I have a lot of friends my age in the ministry and I know a lot of pastors who are closer to retirement age than they are to my age. I appreciate what I learn from the colleagues who are my age, but I decided that if I wanted to be as wise as possible in the ministry, I needed to seek out the collected wisdom from some men and women who have been there and done that. I haven’t completed my research yet, but I want to share the questions I’ve asked and some of the responses.

  • If you could start all over in ministry, what would you do differently?
  • What would you continue to do the same?
  • What would your priorities be if you were 31 again?

Like I said, I’m still waiting to hear back from some people I’m not geographically close to but if I were going to change the way I act as a minister according to the answers I sought…

I would spend more time and effort trying to be a better communicator.

I would fight tooth and nail to have time with the Lord everyday.

I would try to eat well and exercise everyday.

I would be faithful to my day off.

I would protect my time with my family.

None of these behaviors would have changed a thing for Michael – if someone doesn’t like you they don’t like you and there is little a person can do to change that. I don’t want any one to construe this post as a “What he could have done” type of post. All I know is that I trust the people I’ve talked to and I think there is a lot of wisdom in their responses and at my level of maturity if I am disciplined and consistent with what I’ve learned, I think I will last longer than I might have. I hope that’s a good thing for the kingdom of God.

Your suggestions are welcome in the comments. I’d love to hear what other pastors have to say.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. April 14, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    wow – loved reading this post. JL

  2. April 14, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    this is a great post

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