Young Minister: Things I Want to Tell You You Will Not Hear in Pithy Fashion (Part Two)

   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.

5 thoughts on “Young Minister: Things I Want to Tell You You Will Not Hear in Pithy Fashion (Part Two)”

  1. And avoid getting involved in the association which the church you serve belongs. There was only one really good DOM (Larry Rose) and he died. You will only find foolishness and pseudo-fellowship in this day and age.
    Never, ever, help anyone to get a DOM position. They will turn into jerks if you do.

  2. 1. Manage your money well. Have an emergency fund. You will need it.
    2. Choose your spouse wisely. Work hard to develop a joy filled home. At times your home will be an island in a sea of hurt.
    3. Understand some mentors are meant only for a season. Don’t hang on too long out of a sense of loyalty.
    4. Expect to be held accountable. Hold others accountable too. The downfall of most pastors, and the number one issue with many church members is pride.
    5. Support missions. If your church is not on mission, then your support means someone who is on mission will be supported. If your church is on mission, then supporting missions elsewhere will be an easy sell.
    6. Get your church leadership to require you to take four prayer retreats a year. I repeat, get your church leadership to REQUIRE you to take four prayer retreats a year. Find a church member who will loan his cabin. Leave the office on Monday afternoon. Do not return until Friday morning. Regular prayer retreats are like grease for the soul.
    7. The work is in the church. Give your best to your church. Be wary of spending an inordinate amount of time working on associational/denominational projects.
    8. Know the difference between a small problem and a big problem. Don’t try to handle a small problem with a jackhammer. Don’t try to handle a big problem with a paint roller.
    9. Better pastors than you have fallen prey to sexual sin. Never think you are beyond temptation.
    10. You are probably more equipped than 90% of all pastors simply because your read Rick Davis. Keep reading from Dr. Davis and you will always be challenged and encouraged.

  3. Perhaps add “mistrust blanket statements.” I served the old HMB 22 years and have been at BGCT 15 years. I am a layperson whom God led into my position. I started as a US-2 missionary doing campus ministry under a remarkable DOM in San Jose, CA. I have known many incredible, denominational servant leaders at all levels of Baptist life. Last week I was at a luncheon for HMB retirees/former employees in Atlanta and saw friends in their 70s and 80s who still relish the path/ministry God gave them . . . so I have a little trouble with #13.

  4. Dear Clay,
    There are many in the builder generation who are now leaving the scene and being replace by those of much lesser skills and motives. I am thankful for your service as I am sure Dr. Davis is even though I cannot speak for him on his blog.
    It is good to know folks like you are still involved to some degree, but when you are gone, may the Lord have mercy on the BGCT.

  5. First of all, get your own blog if you want to add something. Second, you are a good guy. Third, read some history and find out from whence I paraphrased that comment. Fourth, I like you. Fifth, it is not a blanket statement. Sixth, you are about the only guy at the BB I ever call for help. Seventh, get over it. Eighth, your staff is helpful and well trained. Ninth, you are the first one to comment negatively on #13. Tenth, I have now counted to ten.

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