10 Questions of Young Pastors

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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? 


  • Pete Pharis says:

    How do I seek feedback and what should I do with it?
    How do I recognize the toxic members, power brokers, and the prayer warriors (they will identify themselves soon enough.)
    How should I receive spontaneous praise and criticism?
    What about anonymous notes and gossip?

    How do I decide who to read and study?
    How do I find my place in the community?
    How should I handle friendships from the membership and outside my church fellowship (You need friends!)
    How soon is too soon to implement change? (depends on the change and the subgroup)
    Outside movies, concerts, entertainment, and restaurants; do I need to be worried about where I go?
    What about gifts, or perks quietly given to me or my family?

    What do I say about politics, non-Christian culture, current events, and polarizing subjects in social situations (including media) and in sermons?
    Do I need to worry about what others say on my social media feeds?
    How involved should my wife and children be?

    What if a part of my personality is not the most charming? (sense of humor, reactions when tired or stressed, patience with time-wasters, weaknesses, etc.)
    What do I do if I am not in my most noble moment?
    What if I get sick or injured or dealing with sick family? How much do I hide or reveal?
    How and who do I tell if my family is struggling financially?

    How do I identify sacred cows and what should I do about them?
    When I am more mature, how do I handle my previous immature words, moments, blunders and slights?

  • Elisha says:

    As an Associate Pastor, How do I correct my senior’s doctrinal error upon which he has built the church?

  • Mark Roberts says:

    Why on earth would you serve under a senior pastor you believe teaches doctrinal error? If you are a staff member, you are to support the senior pastor. . .or move on. Be sure, however, that your view of his doctrine is correct. It sound like the pastor and the church are one one side of this issue and you alone are on the other.

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