There are things about ministry that can only be learned through experience. There are things about ministry that will only be learned through formal education. We need both!
While we treasure our educational opportunities, it is not reasonable to expect a few years at an academic institution to prepare us for a lifetime of ministry. We must be lifelong learners.
Listed below, in no particular order, are a few observations regarding things that hands-on ministry will teach you. You are better to learn these things now before you learn them in the “school of hard knocks.”
- Ministry is hard and it gets harder all the time.
- The certainty of the “ministry crucible.”
- That most people are a joy with whom to work.
- That you need 10 encouragements for every one discouragement.
- Preaching is vitally important, but it may not be the most important aspect of ministry.
- That emotional intelligence is one of your greatest assets; in fact, you will fail without it.
- That one of the most important things a minister can say is, “I was wrong, I am sorry.” Apologize quickly, sincerely, and often.
- As a pastor, your heart is revealed more by your prayer than by your preaching.
- The skill of leading change is a non negotiable.
- Avoid the trap of dividing your church with politics.
- The responsible use of social media.
- The absolute necessity of cultural diversity in ministry.
- How important it is to stay in good physical condition.
- How important a retirement plan is.
- If you don’t observe Sabbath, you are a sinner!
If you are counting, you realize I have 15 items on the list. Perhaps it is akin to the preacher who thinks he preached for 30 minutes when he actually preached for 1 hour. So, number 16 might be: Learn how to count and to tell time. Your word matters.