I’ve been doing lots of thinking about my ministry as a pastor. Of course I’m still wet behind the ears. May 2006 will be two years of ordained pastoral ministry. I’ve experienced a lot in my first two years of pastoral ministry. I’ve preached a few sermons, done a couple of weddings, and a couple of baptisms. I’ve spent time counseling folks, listening to those who hurt, and I’ve even gone on some hospital visits that constantly remind me of the importance of the ministry of presence. If I could rewind the clock though I would do a few things differently.
I’d be bold about my faith in Christ. I look back and there are occasions where I could have been more direct with folks about my faith. What I mean by direct is making it obvious for the reasons why I love Jesus and why I follow him daily.
I’d spend more time in prayer. A pastor that prays and makes it a daily spiritual habit? I know I can spend more time in conversation with the Lord. I’d also find a support system of pastors who love praying and who I could confide in and where I wouldn’t be ashamed to say I need prayer or wouldn’t be afraid to pray for a brother of sister. There are only two pastor buddies i know of who live near by who I know in a second would pray for me. I just forget to ask. I also want to be the kind of pastor that isn’t ashamed to say, "can I pray for you?" "Or how is it that I can care for you as your pastor and friend?"
I’d spend more time in study of God’s Word. How is that the times I spend deeply entrenched in God’s Word is when I need to crank out a sermon? I want to be in a place where it’s a daily habit and where it’s obvious that I love and find hope in the study of God’s Holy Word. I want to be surrounded by people who love God’s Word and who desire to know him.
I’d be more intentional with colleagues. Pride often is a hindrance to asking for help. I’d become someone who was more intentional about asking for help from those above me and next to me in leadership.
I’d assert myself more with those I serve with and work with when it came to philosophical differences in ministry. As the young pup in ministry you feel that it’s better to be seen and not heard. I’d be silent when I did disagree with someone and I’d be direct with those I have issues with and strive to modeling Christ in the midst of conflict and work towards reconciliation with those I serve and minister with. Basically, I’d keep short accounts without making it known to the world that I’m frustrated. I’d practice what I preach when it came to gossip and building up the body of Christ.
Finally, I’d be myself. I’d give my heart Jesus away as much as possible. I’d ask people if I could pray with them and most of all I’d go after those who need Jesus. Reggie McNeal (My paraphrase) talks about this idea that evangelism needs to become more of a "Go get them and love" philosophy as opposed to a lets make our church look really good and yell "Come and get it…I’d become someone who went to where the people are. I’d be someone who looked for those who hurt and who needed someone to just be present with them in the midst of their "stuff."
I’ve always wanted to be a pastor who gave of my life as well as the gospel. I know I will be. I pray that as I mature and grow closer to him that I’d become someone who wasn’t afraid to let that fire in my belly be free…and to go after those who are in need of God’s love and compassion to restore their souls from the pain and burden that life oftens blesses us with…to God be the glory!
I now differ to my friend Paul who seemed to get the point…