I do not write this presumptuously or as an authority and I invite your input below. 10. Learn to lose: I think one of the hardest lessons of ministry is to lose when you know you are in the right and not carry that on your sleeve. To learn to accept being wrong about being right. Obviously I’m not talking doctrine here but I am talking about owning being wronged for the sake of the Kingdom (Hebrews 2:10).
9. Pay attention to people in pain: It matters not the size of the congregation there are going to be hurting people there. Sometimes leaders categorize them as just negative or complainers (and sometimes they are) but they are hurting and as a minister you must, well, minister to them (Matthew 12:20).
8. Don’t surprise your elders: 35 years of preaching has taught me that the thing elders like least from ministers is surprises. I shared this with two of my elders a couple of weeks back and they were surprised - now what I am supposed to do with that? ;). Run things past them that you think might be questioned at all. Elders hate being left in the dark when members come up and ask if they knew about “x”.
7. Don’t over-react to reactors: I didn’t say these were easy, only healthy. Some people by their nature over-react. If you respond too quickly you only validate their actions. If you expect that everyone will love you or even like you you will become miserable. If you try to keep everyone happy you will become nothing more than a glorified errand boy. Most every place you go someone will try to destroy your ministry. Don’t aid them. And don’t hate them. They are either right, or misguided or allowing satan to work through them. Don’t aid him by aiding them. if you spend your time trying to please every watchdog or chronic complainer you will never do anything worthwhile.
6. Take care of yourself (spiritually, physically): I don’t do as good with this as I wish. I run 5 miles most every day but still am not physically fit. And exercise does profit. Extend your ministry and effectiveness by learning early to eat right, to sleep and to exercise. Spiritually - don’t forget that it is a relationship with the Lord you are ultimately calling people to - if your’s isn’t right not many will accept that invitation. Read THIS. Find times to be called back to purpose! Souls, grace, sacrifice, service.
5. Smile, laugh, sing: Jesus promised His disciples that His joy would be complete in them (John 15:11). If He was not joyful they would have called Him out on it. Figure this out. No one is responsible for your joy but you. If you don’t have any you have allowed someone to take it from you. Find people and places that bring you joy and enjoy them.
4. Answer your phone, emails - put yourself out there - do more than you can: I’m amazed at the preachers who seem to just get by. Stretch yourself! Reach out, write, learn something that sets you apart, specialize, find your strengths and expand them!
3. Accept what is: Some things are just what they are and you can’t do anything about them. Consider it a lesson in perseverance and patience. Don’t wallow in what you can’t do or what you can’t change.
2. Surround yourself with Paul, Barnabas, Timothy: I learned this from Jeff. But if you would be healthy in your ministry - you need Paul’s you can look up to and learn from and respect, Barnabas’s who will understand you and come along side of you and to enjoy and Timothy’s you can mentor.
1. Don’t ignore your family: God did not call you to preach anymore than He did any other guy out there but if you marry He does call you to be a faithful and loving spouse. And if you have children you have huge biblical obligations there too. Don’t treat your family as a ministry. Don’t let them be a “preacher’s family” - let them be your family! Don’t expect them to be perfect or hold them to a higher standard because you preach - they’ll be plenty of guys who will do that for you. Love them, enjoy them, train them!
So, that’s my ten. I had 3 or 4 I had to leave off to get it to 10. These are just my observations - I’m sure your list will be better. Comment and add to below. I always enjoy what you come up with more than what I do.