Seven Ministry Mistakes
A former pastor reflects on what he wishes he'd done differently.
Also of Interest
My wife and I were recently in a conversation about our years together. We will celebrate 33 years of marriage this year, and we dated for almost six years. The simple math was a surprise—we have been dating or married for nearly four decades!
It was a good conversation, but I had moments of regret: times that I was too busy for my family, times I gave in to my tendency to want to win an argument with my wife rather than resolve the problem, times I failed to slow down and enjoy life.
Mistakes in Ministry
I then reflected on my years when I served as senior pastor of four churches. I have often said that I wanted to write a book entitled Mistakes I Made in Ministry. Then I realized it would have to be a multi-volume series!
There are no "do-overs" in life and ministry. But there are always opportunities to learn, correct, and improve. So here are seven of the key mistakes I made as a senior pastor. Obviously, the list is not exhaustive. Seven just seemed to be a good, biblical number.
Seven for Starters
As I began thinking about the mistakes I made as a pastor, I realized how gracious most church members were to me. And I realized how my family's love for me is a total gift of grace. Here are the seven, but they are really just the beginning of many more.
I would …
For This and the Next Generation
While I can't reverse the mistakes I've made, I can endeavor to move forward positively from this day on. Though my mistakes were made when I was a pastor, many of the lessons still apply to me today. And I hope that my mistakes can be a teaching tool for this and the next generation of pastors and church staff.
This life is so incredibly brief. I am amazed and sorrowful to recall how many times I haven't been the steward of my life that I should be. But this is a new day. It is the day that the Lord has made. I have a fresh start.
In His power, I might just get it right this time.
Thom Rainer is the president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources, and for 15 years prior to that led a church and denominational consulting firm.
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