I’ve been in ministry a lot of years. On the other hand, my Christian walk has included times when I’ve not been a pastor (particularly, during my teens and my seminary teaching years), but a church member who respected and appreciated his pastor. As I think about my several pastors over the years, I’m reminded of something unique that each of them taught me:
- Pastor #1 – Preach the Word. That’s not unique to this pastor, but I was a new believer who had not been raised in church. My first pastor gave me a love and respect for the Word that I’ve never forgotten.
- Pastor #2 – Love your family, and prioritize them. He truly loved his wife and kids, and it was obvious. He learned how to balance ministry and family without neglecting either. Today, some of his kids are in ministry themselves.
- Pastor #3 – Treat your staff well if you want to build a loyal team. I watched this pastor respect his staff, seek their input, remember their birthdays and anniversaries, bless them unexpectedly, and honor them publicly. I was always amazed by the caliber of staff he enlisted – and kept.
- Pastor #4 – Don’t be afraid of teaching theology in the church. He enjoyed theology himself, and he didn’t hesitate to teach theology from the pulpit and in small group settings. In fact, he did it in such a way that lay leaders wanted to learn more.
- Pastor #5 – Preach well, and lead well, too. This pastor was an excellent preacher, and he may have been an even better leader. I learned from him as I watched him cast vision, develop strategies, challenge believers, and grow a church. I’m not surprised he’s an effective denominational leader today.
- Pastor #6 – Prioritize evangelism. This young pastor built relationships in his community, shared the love of Christ with others, and unashamedly challenged them to follow Him. Grace compelled him to proclaim the good news.
Of course, I could write another post about things I’ve learned from other pastors who weren’t my pastor – like mentor others, read good books, give sacrificially to God’s work, and love the nations – but I’ll always be grateful for my pastors’ influence on me.
What have you learned from your pastors?