Senior pastor
What do you think of these suggestions?

I love pastors. I love to encourage pastors, and that’s biblical. (Ephesians 4:29 … or something like that.)

Seriously, I’m a pastor. And, I work with pastors everyday. Having been in the business world longer than I’ve been a pastor, I’ve still got somewhat of an objective, almost outside perspective. And, now I am a pastor and have been one for over a decade. Sometimes I wish I could share with pastors what I’m really thinking.

Well, maybe I can.

Here are 7 hard statements I’d make to every pastor:

1. Your family should not be second to your ministry. Your ministry is important. It’s your calling, hopefully your passion. But, so is your family. Or, at least, they should be. In fact, I’d claim that if your family suffers, almost without exception, so will your ministry.

2. You may never feel completely in control. I realize the ministry has so many unknowns. You work mostly with volunteers. You can’t seem to motivate people to do what people need to be doing. That’s not going to change. Remember, you are walking by faith.

3. You need someone in your life, besides your spouse, who knows the dark places. Your spouse will usually feel the need to cover for you and almost always sees the best in you. You need someone who knows you well, but can look at you and say, “You’re not telling me the whole story. What’s the real deal?”

4. Your pace often determines your longevity. If you run too fast, you’ll burnout. If you run too slow, you’ll get bored. Either one is dangerous.

5. You aren’t the only one who can do that. In fact, God has designed the church as a Body with many parts that can do many things. Are you seriously allowing yourself to be held responsible for everything? You’ll be far more successful in ministry if you learn to equip and release.

6. Your church can function without you. You aren’t indispensable. You’re awesome and wonderful and the greatest pastor ever—maybe—but the “church” has lasted for several centuries without you. Sorry to break that to you, but when we come to realize this as true, it is a freeing reality. Jesus is in control.

7. You’re doing better than you think you are. Admit it. You’ve been comparing yourself to others, haven’t you? And, it’s depressing at times. How can they do the same or even less effort as you do and seem to get more results?

But, God has a plan for you. It’s unique from His plan for everyone else. Be faithful to what He has called you to do. And, don’t worry about everyone else. Someday, I’m convinced you’ll indeed hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant, well done.”

Pastor, do you have a hard word you’d share with other pastors? (Here’s your chance!)

Ron Edmondson is a church planter and pastor with a heart for strategy, leadership and marketing, especially geared toward developing churches and growing and improving the kingdom of God.

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