Because of my love for the local church and for pastoring, I think often about that role. I reflect on joys and blessings of my 14 years of pastoring, but I also remember mistakes I made. If I were pastoring again, I would do these things more often:
- Call out the called to the pastorate and missionary service. I know we’re all called to do the Great Commission, but I also recognize a unique calling to these positions. As a pastor, though, I waited for folks to come to me if they were thinking about these roles; I did not proactively challenge them to consider God’s calling.
- Share the Lord’s Supper. In the church of my upbringing, we shared the Lord’s Supper once per quarter. Today, I would do it at least monthly, always clearly emphasizing its purpose and its value.
- Preach on giving. My church typically had an annual stewardship emphasis, but I didn’t keep regular giving in front of them. Perhaps if I had, we would not have needed an annual emphasis.
- Fill the baptistry, and explain its purpose. Even if we were not baptizing on a Sunday, I’d use the baptistry to discuss the gospel and challenge Christ followers to follow Him in obedience—all the while explaining that baptism does not save.
- Wash feet. I don’t see this act as an ordinance of the church, but I do see it as an act of public service and humility. Sometimes, a leader simply needs to show his love by serving others.
- Personally evangelize. I did evangelism regularly when I first started pastoring, but I allowed other busyness to get in the way in my latter years of pastoral ministry.
- Invest my time in raising up male leaders. My churches had male leaders, but I wonder how many more we would have had if I had intentionally invested more in the young men of each congregation.
- Invite missionaries to speak. I’m sure I missed opportunities to challenge my members because I failed to connect often with missionaries on stateside assignment. My churches didn’t know enough about God’s global work.
- Take time off. I know now that I would have been a better pastor if I had taken time off regularly to relax and recover. Burnout was always just around the corner for me.
- Teach doctrine. I assumed people would develop a clear biblical theology if they simply attended our small groups and worship services. I was wrong.
Pastors, what would you do more if you were starting again? Tomorrow, I will share some things I would do less often.
This article originally appeared here.