Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing his reflections and practical insights as a ministry leader on Greenelines, a new podcast. Listen at charismapodcastnetwork.com.

Thom-RainerIt was 30 years ago that I began serving a small rural church in southern Indiana. I was so incredibly green then; I’m glad I didn’t always realize it.

I loved those people in that church and, for some reason, they loved me too. I had to be one of the most inept pastors in history, but they just continued to show me grace and love me even more.

Three decades later, I reflect back on what I’ve learned in ministry. Some lessons came rather naturally; others were very painful.

  1. God is always faithful. Always. Always. Always.
  2. My family is my greatest gift beyond my salvation. I wish I always realized it.
  3. I spent too much time worrying about things that I can’t even remember today.
  4. I took too many criticisms personally. Most critics weren’t mad at me.
  5. I always grow stronger when I spend time in the Word and in prayer.
  6. My wife endured a lot in our ministry. I needed to minister to her more.
  7. When I can laugh at myself, I am more effective in ministry.
  8. I learned to be more compassionate through the deaths of my parents and grandson. I can now understand the pain many experience.
  9. I am always hurt when I hold grudges.
  10. I need to ask for forgiveness more quickly.
  11. I need friends to share both the joys and the challenges of ministry.
  12. I wish my sons had not seen my frustrations when I was a pastor.
  13. Life is short. Live it totally for Him every moment.
  14. Some of my most miserable days came when I grew jealous of others in ministry.
  15. Some other miserable days came when I lived to please people rather than God.
  16. Children are young but for a season. Some of my greatest joys have been with my three sons.
  17. I’m not nearly as smart as I sometimes think I am.
  18. I am always wiser when I listen to the wisdom of others.
  19. The devil is always looking for a way to trap me (1 Tim. 3:7).
  20. My success is not measured by the size of my church or the prestige of my organization.
  21. I’ve had a lot of grace shown to me. I need to pass that gift forward more.
  22. Some people who disagree with me have proved right.
  23. I need to mentor more men.
  24. I am rarely as diligent I should be sharing the gospel.
  25. Every church has some really mean people. God has called me to love and serve them too.
  26. I fight pride more often than I’d like to admit.
  27. Some of my worst moments in ministry were when I lost my temper.
  28. Encouragement works better than harsh words.
  29. I need to read more.
  30. My grandchildren are almost perfect.

What have you learned in ministry? What can you add to this list?

Thom S. Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.

Ministry Today Subscription Special - Subscribe to Ministry Today magazine today and get 12 issues (2 full years) plus Amplified Leadership, a free leadership book for only $24.

Order Life in the Spirit to actively grow your ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit. Your congregation will stay saturated in God's Word, learn to hear His voice, understand their purpose and calling and move into an active role in your ministry.

Your Turn

Comment Guidelines
  • Jentezen Franklin encourages church leaders to encourage their flocks to vote their values.

    Why We Must Count the Cost—and Vote

    There is a propaganda war that is raging in this country, and it is full of manipulation, lies, ...

  • Have you ever had a cringe moment during your church announcements?

    The 7 Deadly Sins of Church Announcements

    Sometimes they just miss the mark, albeit unintentionally.

  • Peace is indeed attainable in this selfish world. Just look for it in the right place.

    Finding Peace in a Fallen and Selfish World

    You can have peace in this world. Just stop looking in the wrong places.

  • Praying for leaders

    Failing to Do This Can Spell Disaster for the Church

    And it has the potential to destroy many lives.

  • Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Start a Wildfire of Spiritual Growth in Your Church

    Watch how God can take one spark and turn it into a wildfire that impacts your ministry, your community and even future generations.

  • Why did you choose the church you attend?

    7 Key Reasons People Choose a Church

    The real issue is not the intrigue of this research; it is what you and your church will do about ...

  • Some of these reasons for leaving the church are simply not plausible.

    7 Reasons People Leave Their Church During Crisis Times

    Some of the excuses are pretty extreme and, quite frankly, lazy.

  • Prestonwood Church in Dallas

    What Leaders Can Learn From Prestonwood's Jack Graham

    Leaders don't have to know everything, but they need to give their staff what Graham gives his.

  • Many of these issues are self-inflicted.

    10 Poisons That Will Kill Any Church

    Here is why the churches that die from them do so by their own hand.

Use Desktop Layout
Ministry Today Magazine — Serving and empowering church leaders