I don’t know of any pastor who didn’t feel that God called him or her into ministry. I also don’t know of any pastor who hasn’t questioned that calling from time to time. I know that I have. Pastoring can be incredibly rewarding as well as incredibly discouraging.
Here are four things pastors must do to be more steadfast and effective in ministry.
1) Find spiritual support!
We were never meant to go it alone. Someone said that even the Lone Ranger had Tonto! One of my “ministry savers” was a weekly prayer time with a group of local pastors. We consistently prayed together for years. It was a place to openly share and find needed encouragement. Another place I found that support was in coaching. It gave me another perspective of what I was doing in ministry and a person to bounce off ideas and concerns. Every pastor can benefit from it.
2) Love people!
What’s that old saying? — “People don’t how much you know, until they know how much you care!” Early in my ministry I was too task-driven. I remember a one older gentleman scolding me (in a kind way) about my lack of love and kindness. He was right. The Bible says that without love we are nothing. Until people see that we truly love them, our ministry will be ineffective.
3) Preach the Word!
Jesus told Peter to “Feed my sheep” -not just once, but three times! It was that important. One of highest privileges pastors have is to share God’s Word each week. It can be a challenge preach week after week after week. Just when you feel like you have given one of your best sermons, it’s time to start another one! (By the way, many times the messages I thought I bombed at, ministered to others). A pastor must make sermon preparation a priority in their weekly schedule. I also believe in sharing the pulpit. If I had to do it over again, I’d have a team approach to preaching.
4) Be willing to change!
Often I hear pastors complain that others are not willing to change. The fact is, we all need to change. I am still learning. For example, one area for me is asking good questions. I have too quick to “tell” and too slow to “listen.” Caring questions help me to understand before jumping to conclusions :-).
None of us are perfect. Never think admitting to your mistakes will diminish your leadership. In fact, the opposite is true. When a pastor is willing to change his or her ways, people respond!
BEFORE YOU GO…
So those are four things! Do them consistently and you will improve in your leadership and effectiveness. I really believe that!
What are others you would add to this list? I’d love to hear from you!