9.) Be willing to sound dumb, be wrong, apologize and contradict yourself.
Early in ministry, I was careful with my words. I didn’t want to sound stupid. And on more than one occasion, the Spirit convicted me that my take on a particular doctrine was wrong, and I refused to change my stance. Sounding foolish was a higher value than listening to the Spirit of God.
As a pastor in 2015, you’re under a microscope. Everything you say is dissected and scrutinized. Don’t be mad about that. Accept it. But don’t allow the microscope to enslave you. If you’re studying, praying and seeking God, He will reveal new layers of his character to you. And it’s possible that the Spirit will reveal something about God that shatters your previous understanding. Embrace it.
If you never change your mind about some aspect of God’s character, you’re either God or you’re not being led by the Spirit. So, at worst, you’re equivalent to Satan, and, at best, you’re a legalistic Pharisee.
“How about what’s behind door #3, Frank?”
Exactly. Embrace your limitations and weaknesses. Admit your faults. Be transparent. God doesn’t need you to be perfect. He needs you to point people to his perfection.
10.) You will consider giving up often. Learn to find God in the dailiness of ministry.
If I had a dime for every time I thought about giving up, I would take the dimes and retire. Not give up, just retire.
When I started full-time ministry, I thought ministry equated to a lifetime on the mountaintop. Youth conferences with thousands of teens. Sundays where I’m preaching and multiple people give their lives to Christ.
I didn’t look for God in the dailiness of ministry. I didn’t think he was there. Now I realize he’s primarily there. And it’s not until you embrace the days where seemingly nothing happens that you’re prepared to experience the days where everything seemingly blows up.
God is working in the messiness of ministry. He’s working in the days when an angry Christian verbally attacks your competency, family and everything in between. He’s there in the moments of loneliness when you question ministry, the church and even when you question Him.
Let’s be honest, pastors and church leaders aren’t leaving their positions because they’re tired of being on the mountaintop. They’re leaving on Mondays, when they’ve spent countless hours pouring into a group of people and it seems like nothing is happening.
Pastors often leave because they equate God’s presence to mountaintop experiences. Embrace his presence when it appears nothing happens. You might find God is doing more than you realize.
There are many points and lessons I didn’t include. Now it’s your turn.
What are some lessons you wish you knew before you went into ministry? Leave a comment below!
I love you all. To God be the glory forever. Amen!