5 Things I Wish I Had Told Myself When I Started Ministry
It’s 2016, I am turning 30 and this marks my 10th year in full time ministry. It all began in 2006 in Baltimore, Maryland working for a great community called Cornerstone Community Church. Let me begin by apologising to all those I worked with and for, I wasn’t the best youth pastor ever but I wish I had known these 5 things all that time ago.
- You’re Integrity Is Your Best Friend
What is Integrity? One definition of integrity is to be unified. Therefore, a person of integrity will not have divided loyalties nor are they actors. They do not suffer from duplicity or hypocrisy. They are single-minded in their pursuits. They are open and have nothing to hide (Maxwell, John C, Developing the Leader Within You, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson,1993)
Too many good people leave ministry because of bad decisions made. We need to open our lives to people we trust, who can hold us accountable and speak into our places of fear and shame. I made some stupid mistakes in my early days because I started to hide things from those I trusted and loved. It all went downhill from there. What are you keeping behind closed doors?
2. God Created Me to Be….Me
Lets be honest we all, at sometime or other, have looked at another person in ministry and thought I wish I was them. When I began ministry there was two or three people I really looked up to and wanted to be like. I began, unintentionally, following their lead and found myself trying to emulate them. There is so much value to having inspiring leaders you follow but for me, it went to far and I lost myself in the process. God has given each one of us strengths and also weaknesses so be aware of who you are and therefore what you bring to the table. Are you being inspired or are you copying?
3. Get A Thick Skin
In Church ministry you are going to face criticism and, unfortunately, it is unavoidable. There are so many ways to deal with it, head on, quietly, from the platform, through communicating your decisions etc. All of these are valuable at some point but I have also found that if you don’t expect and accept a certain level of criticism then it can internally tear you apart. Did that last critical comment damage you?
4. Time Management Is A Key Skill
I must confess, I am my own worst enemy. I have watched both good and bad examples of this. One of the toughest things to do in ministry, or in any occupation for that matter, is managing your time. In ministry, this brings about a great deal of challenges! Whether it be emails, phone calls, sermons, bible studies, community groups, family commitments or spending time with friends, everything is pulling at your time. That is without even mentioning your own personal devotion time. Time management and balance of time is a key skill that takes a life time of working on. How is your time management?
5. Reading Can Be Fun
I was told a lot in my training and by my early mentor that reading can be hugely fulfilling and also enhancing to my ministry. I need to be honest with you, I find reading hard, I find it a real chore and would much rather be with people or messing around on my phone or watching an episode of the latest tv show I am addicted to, rather than reading. I am, however, learning the importance of reading to help gain wisdom, understanding and knowledge. All 3 of these are key to growing in ministry and will help develop a characteristic of being teachable. What was the last book you read that helped you in your ministry or you just enjoyed?
Hopefully when I write this again in 10 years I will have 5 new things to share. Keep going guys.
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