I came across this list a while ago. It wasn't written by me, but I certainly relate to all those listed here.
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I have learned a lot about pastoral ministry over these years. Of course, I still have quite a bit to learn. I hope to be a lifelong learner. But I am not a rookie anymore, either.
I recently began to list things I have learned over the years. These are not deep, theological, doctrinal truths. Just personal conclusions I have made about ministry through two decades of observation and experience.
This is not a scientific list. It is in no particular order of importance or category. Just a collection of thoughts. I am sure the list would be much longer if I kept writing. And I would probably replace some things with other things, if I took more time with it. But for whatever it’s worth, here are things about pastoral ministry I have learned along the way.
1. Your primary responsibility as a pastor is prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts 6:4).
2. Sheep bite.
3. Faithful preaching does not guarantee church growth.
4. Just because there is a crowd does not mean there is a church.
5. Nothing is as good as it seems; nothing is as bad as it seems.
6. Don’t assume anything.
7. All church fights are bad. But some church fights are necessary.
8. It happens after prayer.
9. The most important people in a pastor’s life are those he can have an honest conversation with.
10. Be careful of giving members multiple positions of authority in the church.
11. Ministerial success cannot be determined by the size of a pastor’s congregation.
12. Preaching can get you into trouble. And preaching can get you out of trouble.
13. No one is indispensable.
14. The better the worship is the better my preaching is.
15. Pick your battles carefully. Every hill is not worth dying on.
16. People will remember how you treat them long after they have forgotten your sermons.
17. Prominence and significance are not the same thing. The one who is in front of the line is not necessarily the most important person in the line.
18. The pastor who is always available will be of no use when he is available.
19. Doing pastoral care should be seen as a means of maintaining a pastoral heart.
20. If you can keep from preaching, do it.
21. The pastor is just as responsible for the doctrine being taught from the choir loft as he is for the doctrine being taught from the pulpit.
22. Congregational leaders who view their role as representing the members will be a problem.
23. Be a friend to other pastors and preachers, even if they are not friends to you.
24. If they don’t trust you, you can’t lead them.
25. View pastoral ministry as a marathon, not a sprint.