My first post on Foryoungerpastors.com was on June 26, 2019. Now six months later I’m writing my 79th post. On this last day of 2019 I wanted to take a few minutes, look back, and highlight a few of the main ideas I have tried to communicate.
Before I do that, I have to tip my cap to Tim Challies. I don’t know the stats, but my guess is that among Christian bloggers Tim is the most widely read. More significant to me than his audience, the guy has something to say every day! In addition to the A La Carte columns and the work he does to give us a list of Kindle books that are on sale, he writes a main column that is always worthwhile.
I have wondered at times if Tim has a group of elves who work in his basement, writing good copy so that he is never at a loss for something to post. But God has blessed him with a rather unique talent, and there are thousands of people who are grateful for that. I’m one of them. Thanks, Tim!
When I consider that Tim posts daily regardless of his circumstances, and that he writes with constant pain in his wrists and arms, I am amazed at his ability to come up with subject matter. That’s not always been easy for me, and I post only 3 times a week.
When I was in my late 50’s I decided that I wanted to try to help younger guys learn the ropes in ministry. As I have said numerous times, I was an ordinary pastor in an ordinary church, so I have no special wisdom. But God placed this group on my heart, and our church provided the opportunity for several young men to work part-time on our staff in intern-like capacities. Three of them are in full-time pastoral ministry and one has an important position with a major Christian publisher. The years I spent working with these younger men were the most enjoyable of my ministry. They were also the years in which I learned the most.
Now that I am retired and out of ministry, I want to be able to continue to give back to men heading into ministry or men who are somewhat new to the task of pastoring. That’s what led to For Younger Pastors. As I look back over the posts that I’ve written, some themes stand out as being especially important. If you’re a regular reader, here’s what I’ve been trying to tell you!
- Pastoral work is incredibly challenging for a variety of reasons. But it becomes more challenging if you try to go it alone. Surround yourself with a few peers with whom you talk openly and meet together regularly for encouragement. You need them and they need you.
- You also need people in your life who have walked the path you’re currently walking. Try to hook up with a veteran pastor and learn from him. Find someone humble enough to share his mistakes. Avoid the one who knows it all.
- You are first and foremost a pastor. You are not an entrepreneur. You’ve been entrusted with a group of people who need your care. It is no accident that the Bible calls the church a “flock” and the pastor a “shepherd.” Your job is to tend the flock. You are not in your church to organize the worker bees to accomplish grandiose goals or to become big, influential, or world-changing. If God uses your church in a significant way within your community, great. But as I said in one of my early posts: we shepherd sheep, not beasts of burden.
- You should always be working to improve your preaching. Always. Until you die.
- Finally, preach the Word. Don’t preach your ideas that happen to be able to connect to the Word. Teach your people the Bible, teach them how to read the Bible by the way you preach, and build them up in their faith by means of exposure to Scripture.
Thanks for reading during 2019. May God bless you in 2020 as you seek to serve Christ and his church.