Over the years of my seminary teaching, I’ve spent a lot of time with young pastors – particularly, young pastors tackling a full-time ministry role for the first time. Here are some of the questions I hear recurrently from these young leaders:
- How do I find a mentor? They don’t want to do ministry alone; in fact, they sometimes question if they’re ready to take on the work. They deeply want an older pastor to walk with them.
- How do I guard my family time while doing ministry? They’ve seen too many church leaders sacrifice their families on the altar of busyness, and they don’t want to be in that number. At the same time, they’re learning that ministry isn’t always an 8-5 job.
- When do I do church discipline? Young leaders often recognize that some churches have dealt little with ongoing sin. They want to do church differently, but they’re not sure how to bring discipline back into the church.
- How do I fix the discipleship problem in a church? They see the need, but they don’t always know the best way to address it. What they know for sure is that they can’t ignore it.
- How many weeks of the year should I be preaching? This generation is much more open to team-preaching than my generation was at their age. Now, they’re trying to determine the best approach to lead the church while also sharing the preaching.
- How do I avoid having false conversions in my church? They’ve known this problem—in fact, some of them talk about an early church “experience” that was not their true conversion—and they want to avoid propagating it.
- Why should I be part of a denomination? They’re not generally opposed to a denominational affiliation; instead, they just want to understand its value before they invest in it.
- How do I pastor people much older than I am? Young pastors want to pay due respect to their elders while also shepherding them. They want to honor them while also leading them—and learning how to do both isn’t always easy.
- How do I find sufficient time to prepare a sermon every week? That’s almost a funny question to pastors who’ve prepared more than one weekly sermon for years, but it’s nevertheless an honest one. These young leaders are so committed to digesting the Word that they want to dig deeply—and that process takes time.
- How do I avoid falling? They’ve seen enough fallen leaders that they know it can happen to anyone. And, they’re struggling with enough sin issues themselves that they worry they’ll eventually join that list.
What other questions have you heard from young pastors?