Because of my love for the local church and for pastoring, I think often about that role. I reflect on joys and blessings of my fourteen years of pastoring, but I also remember mistakes I made. If I were pastoring again, I would do these things more often:
Call out the called to the pastorate and missionary service. I know we’re all called to do the Great Commission, but I also recognize a unique calling to these positions. As a pastor, though, I waited for folks to come to me if they were thinking about these roles; I did not proactively challenge them to consider God’s calling.
Share the Lord’s Supper. In the church of my upbringing, we shared the Lord’s Supper once per quarter. Today, I would do it at least monthly, always clearly emphasizing its purpose and its value.
Preach on giving. My church typically had an annual stewardship emphasis, but I didn’t keep regular giving in front of them. Perhaps if I had, we would not have needed an annual emphasis.
Fill the baptistry, and explain its purpose. Even if we were not baptizing on a Sunday, I’d use the baptistry to discuss the gospel and challenge Christ followers to follow Him in obedience – all the while explaining that baptism does not save.
Wash feet. I don’t see this act as an ordinance of the church, but I do see it as an act of public service and humility. Sometimes, a leader simply needs to show his love by serving others.
Personally evangelize. I did evangelism regularly when I first started pastoring, but I allowed other busyness to get in the way in my latter years of pastoral ministry.
Invest my time in raising up male leaders. My churches had male leaders, but I wonder how many more we would have had if I had intentionally invested more in the young men of each congregation.
Invite missionaries to speak. I’m sure I missed opportunities to challenge my members because I failed to connect often with missionaries on stateside assignment. My churches didn’t know enough about God’s global work.
Take time off. I know now that I would have been a better pastor if I had taken time off regularly to relax and recover. Burnout was always just around the corner for me.
Teach doctrine. I assumed people would develop a clear biblical theology if they simply attended our small groups and worship services. I was wrong.
Pastors, what would you do more if you were starting again? Tomorrow, I will share some things I would do less often.
I would pray more and be busy less.
I have no problem serving, but the members of the churches I pastored wouldn’t have been comfortable with washing feet.
Thanks for the response!
Think how many leaders you could have had if you had raised up female leaders…
Thanks for your thoughts!
Thank you for that thought. I’m a woman who, as a teenager, came forward during an invitation – responding to a call I felt to serve. It was announced to the church and everyone said “Amen.” Then no one talked to me about it. No one tried to help me understand my call or follow through. Not the pastor. Not a deacon. No one. I was so confused. I didn’t know what to think or what to do. Can’t help but believe the response would have been different if I had been a teenage boy.
How very encouraging and honest. Thank you.
Thanks for your affirmation.
When I was pastoring I asked our Director missions to come and preach on a Wednesday night. I was bivo at the time and he called me and asked me John how clean are your feet? When I got there that night in front of the whole congregation he took a basin and a towel and proceeded to wash my feet. I felt like Peter because I would have felt much more at ease washing his feet then him washing mine. Later on I served an interim pastorate with the Free Will Baptists, and they practice foot-washing. While there we had two foot washing services because that’s part of their worship. It was quite an experience all three times.
While not a pastor, I feel that many churches are not intentional in tegard to raisng up new leaders- whether male or female.