In no particular order:
1. Early in your ministry, attach yourself to a "successful" older fellow, more for the sake of sponsorship than pure mentoring.
2. Along the way, avail yourself of certain older ministers, more for the sake of mentoring than sponsorship.
3. Know the difference between number one, above, and number two, above.
4. Do not sell your soul. You will need it.
5. Why do 80% of seminary grads leave the pastorate within five years after graduation? (This is a figure put out by Southern Seminary recently. I have no reason to doubt their research.) Three words: Expectations, expectations, expectations.
6. Be able to support yourself financially as much as you can as dollars dry up. Never underestimate the stress of poverty and want. If you are about to say the words, "Oh, I don't care about money," peddle that stuff somewhere else or, at least, have yourself sterilized.
7. Read outside your specialty. Read history and biography.
8. Don't work every day. You are not superman/woman.
9. Every other year, see a professional for a mental/emotional health checkup.
10. When you go to a meeting/convention/seminar, if what they are presenting does not match what they advertised, walk out and go to a movie or to coffee with friends. Never look back.
11. Iron may sharpen iron but mediocrity just makes everything dull.
12. Take extreme care of the parishioner who meets you once and says, "You can open up to me."
13. The most dangerous person you will ever meet? The one who says, "I am from the denomination and I am here to help."
14. To make themselves seem relevant, denominations try to act like churches. They invariably fail.
15. Take care not to spend 90% of your time on 3% of the congregation, usually the part that expresses its spirituality in negative fashion.
16. Agendas eclipse missions. Avoid them.
17. Remember people get into ministry, often, purely for approval. Persons searching for approval are easily manipulated.
18. Don't become what people say you are.
19. Don't take your high from a well attended Sunday service.
20. Your wife/husband is your best friend. Or you are in big trouble.
21. Don't expect your wife to be your mother or your husband to be your daddy.
22. Be a grown-up.
23. Be a kid.
24. With persons who do not know to dress appropriately to cover themselves, during conversation, make eye contact and hold it. Keep your eyes up high. It's a trap.
25. Keep a BIble, a pen and a notepad in your car, another in your briefcase. Work on sermons in public a lot, not always in private.
26. I have a standup desk, because I still do most of my speaking while standing. Don't write the stuff you will present standing while seated.
27. Learn to read and write. Bubblegum loses its flavor quickly.
28. Ministers keep their heads on a swivel so they do not miss anyone. In so doing, they miss the person they are with at the moment. Naturally, they are lonely people as a result.
29. If you meet a Steve Herm, a T. E. Cox, a Deb Justus, a Mike Marshall or a Doug Chandler or a Leonard Underwood, cling to them like grim death.
30. It takes a pretty darn good staff member to beat none at all. (Charles Wade, quoting his father.) Expect loyalty from staff. Period.