How have you counseled one who has no wisdom?
And how have you declared sound advice to many? Job 26:3 (NKJV)
Much of what I do as I work with churches is “to give advice” about a number of matters as it pertains to churches and ministries. I learned early on in my own ministry to listen to advice given and I think doing that, 30 years of experience as a pastor and keeping well read on issues of the church has been vital.
Being a Pastor to Pastors the thought of “œpastors giving advice to other pastors” seemed important to me, so I collected a number of comments that would be considered general advice from one pastor to another.
Then it dawned on me. Perhaps advice from church people to pastors as well as advice from pastors to church people would be good reading for each of us.
So, here’s what I collected. Do you have anything to add in any of the following 3 areas?
Advice from Pastors to Other Pastors
- Pray more – develop your own relationship with the Lord more.
- Read the Scriptures more – challenge your own Theology more.
- Love your family more – make more time for just them. Your children desperately need a closeness with Daddy!!! Your spouse needs to know she’s the ‘leader of your parade.’
- Go to the extreme to avoid the appearance of evil.
- Dare more – stretch your Faith and Pray more – develop your own relationship with the Lord.
- “Find a mentor early on in your ministry who is experienced. His advice and common sense will prove to be invaluable as you encounter pastoral situations that your schooling never prepared you for.”
- What I have learned about pastoral ministry are things I learned mostly the hard way.
- It is not about you – it is about the Lord Jesus Christ. (apply to everything)
- Success in ministry requires success at home. (apply to your schedule)
- Your gifts, ministry and power in ministry all come from God (1 Cor. 12), so never be jealous of anyone whose ministry is doing “better” than yours, and never look down on someone whose ministry is not as large as yours. (apply anytime you meet with or hear about other ministries – rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep ““ Romans 12:15)
- It is worth the effort and time to make and maintain friends with other pastors
- God’s purpose in your life is conforming you into the image of Christ – success in ministry is seeing those you are discipling becoming conformed to the Christ’s image (1 Cor. 11:1).
- Learned contentment (Philippians 4:11)
- Don’t be surprised when the attack comes from a friend or ministry co-laborer (Phil. 1:15-17).
- Time runs faster than you do – accomplish your priorities and not the tyranny of the urgent.
- Doing is important, but being is more important
- Pastoral ministry is a wonderful privilege even though it requires you to bleed and weep with your people – it is not a job (John 10:12-13).
- “Preach to broken hearts and people’s needs”
Advice from Pastors to Church People
- Make sure you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and not of someone else. Follow other people only to the extent that they are following Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1).
- Make sure you fully understand that you are a created being who exists to glorify the Creator and not the other way around. Do not complain and grumble that God is not doing things to your satisfaction. Be concerned whether you are doing things to His satisfaction.
- Mature and learn to feed yourself (2 Timothy 2:15). You cannot spiritually survive, much less grow, on one sermon a week. You must read, study and apply the Scriptures to your life daily (Psalm 119:9-11).
- Make sure you understand God’s priorities for your life and set your goals accordingly to fulfill them, (Romans 12:1-2). This includes your spiritual walk, your family, your church and your community.
- Be active in using your spiritual gift(s). God has gifted every believer as members of the body of Christ, the church, to serve so that the whole body can mature and become like Christ (Eph. 4:11-16; Romans 8:29; 1 Corinthians 12-14).
- If the members of a local church were serious about just those five point, I believe that most of the problems that exist in churches would vanish.
Advice from Church People to Pastors
- Please have a group that follows up on people that haven’t been to church in awhile, but used to attend.
- Follow-up on new comers. Just a friendly call to let them know that you are thinking about them makes a world of difference.
- Always return calls and try to learn all the people’s names.
- We know you’re busy but please take the time to visit us in the hospital before a surgery. If you can’t personally make it, send another church leader.
- Stay on target. If you plan a message series for 8 weeks, keep it to 8 weeks.
- Make it easy for people to find/read the scripture passage. Put it on screen, use page numbers in a church provided Bible or give help as to where to find Zephaniah or Haggai.
- Be sure you have a leadership team with the same mission and goals. Not that everybody always agrees, but do the activities, topics, plans fulfill the mission and goals.
- Communication with us. If the congregation does not feel that leadership communicates important information they will start looking elsewhere.
- Define your church. Are you seeker-friendly, spiritual growth, evangelistic, all of the above?
- If spiritual growth is a part of your mission, be sure you have “greenhouse environments”. Plants grow better in situations where temp, humidity etc are targeted toward plant growth. In the church, One-to-One.
- Discipleship, Home Bible studies, Men’s groups, Women’s groups, Singles, College are just some of the things that a church needs. If the church is small then choose priorities. Don’t think you personally need to do all of this. We are here to help you pastor. Just ask us, train and trust us.
- If you don’t have a person to take a leadership position for a particular ministry, consider whether that ministry is necessary. Perhaps God is saying “Not now” to a ministry, just as a God will often say “Not now” to a personal prayer request.