Re-post: 10 Tips for Young Pastors

Photo Credit: "Outside the camp" via flicker.comPastoral work is demanding. It has its peculiar stresses. But, it is also deeply satisfying when done with wisdom and care. Here are some suggestions gleaned from 22-years of pastoral ministry and another 19-years as a general church overseer.

1. Ground your ministry in daily Bible reading and prayer. Pray daily for your people. Pray often through the day. Consider that pastoral labors grounded in prayer are the “gold, silver and costly stones” the Apostle Paul speaks of as durable building materials used in pastoral labors (1Cor. 3:10-15).

2. If your study is at the church, be there at a set time each work day. I suggest 8 A.M. God honors a good work ethic.

3. Spend your mornings in sermon preparations, reading, and related study. Be diligent. If you have a secretary, have her guard these hours. Don’t allow legitimate resources to become time-wasters — the Internet, TV, video games, long telephone calls, news papers, news magazines, etc.

“If in the morning you throw moments away,
You’ll not catch them up in the course of the day.”

4. Get an exercise program and stick to it, whether it be jogging or swimming or walking or exercising to a DVD. If you have no better idea, consider, as one possibility, incorporating this routine into an extended noon hour. A jog, then a sandwich, an apple, and a beverage need take no more than an hour-and-a-quarter.

5. Do not have favorites. If your attachment to one person or couple or family becomes obvious — you meet regularly for meals together, even go camping together — this will make other members feel second rate. The pastor must be pastor to all the people all the time. If you need more intimate friendships, form them outside the congregation — with a neighboring minister, for example.

6. Never, discuss church problems in the presence of growing children.  They do not have the wisdom to handle adult problems.
Their trust may be damaged, and eventually their respect for Christ and his church.

7. If division develops over some issue (whether to launch a building program, add a staff member, change the music program, etc.) give leadership through proper channels. But don’t take sides by talking informally with one faction or the other. To do so will deepen the congregational rift and likely shorten your tenure.

8. Develop a clear understanding of your boundaries and observe them — with the opposite sex, the aged, children, young people, church officers, staff members, etc. Strive to keep all pastoral relationships above reproach.

9. However modest your income, set an example of responsible stewardship. Show leadership in tithing your income. If you have debts that are out of hand, seek professional counsel. Your care with money will increase the congregation’s trust in your leadership.

10. Never ask to borrow money from your parishioners. To do so puts parishioners at a disadvantage, may reduce their respect for you, and if not repaid as agreed may create a rift that puts your pastoral tenure at risk.

Pastoral ministry is built on the ability to preach and teach the Bible. But it is also grounded in genuine godliness, basic ethical competence, good interpersonal skills, and beyond these on common sense. These ten points do not tell the whole story but they offer some time-tested suggestions about how to avoid the traps that sometimes spring and limit or even shorten a minister’s usefulness to the Lord and a congregation.


Photo Credit: Outside the camp (via

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2 thoughts on “Re-post: 10 Tips for Young Pastors

  1. When I started reading ‘The Pastor’s First Love: And Other Essays on a High and Holy Calling’,I realized I was reading a book ideal for a young pastor starting out ,written by an eminent pastor of The Free Methodist Church with very many decades of pastoral experience in the United States and Canada.The Pastors First Love’ is a book of advice and guidance by an award winining writer and church leader highly regarded in the Americas and in Britain where I live.What an ideal book for new pastors.

    I am not a pastor but I was minded of Martin Luther’s protestant doctrine of a universal priesthood.In the early 1500s ,Martin Luther rejected the medieval notion that two classes of Christian exist : spiritual and secular.The following three verses in the Bible suggest that all who are baptized have a duty to preach and pastor in some way.
    ‘’ But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light’’ 1 Peter 2:9 NIV
    ‘’ Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation’’ Exodus 19:5-6 NIV
    ‘’ and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father—to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen’’ Revelation 1:6 NIV
    However,certain people are called out and chosen to be full time ministers of the gospel.These become leaders and pastors of congregations or groups of congregations.Such people,the pastorate,are reffred to in 1 Corinthians.
    ‘’This, then, is how you ought to regard us: as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the mysteries God has revealed’’ 1 Corinthians 4:1
    Bearing these four Bible verses in mind,I’m guided to see that ‘The Pastors First Love’ and this weeks ‘Just Call Me Pastor’ blog ’10 Tips For Young Pastors’ are especially suitable readigf for new pastors.I’m sure many more experienced pastors will find much helpful advice too.But also,in so far as every baptized Christian has a duty to preach the gospel and help her or his fellow Christians – both this weeks blog and ‘The Pastors First Love’ are very helpful reading for every Christian.
    ‘The Pastors First Love’ has helped me tremendously in my day to day contact with fellow Christians.This weeks blog too ,I’ve found good reading and am going to try to adopt the following of the 10 Tips ,in my daily Christian life.
    Tip 1.Ground my day to day fellowship with Christians and others upon daily Bible reading and inspiration.Try to apply what I’ve learned in the Bible in my life today.Pray throughout the day for my fellow congregants and the people in my life,especially those I know to be sick or troubled or lonely or in want

    Tip 3. Devote an hour or two a day to reading the Bible and good Christian writing.
    Tip 4.Stick to a regular exercise proggrame within my ability – daily brisk walking and seek to resume regular swimming,to keep my mind and body fit to serve the Lord should He call on me.
    Tip 5 Try not to exclude anyone in my life as of less importance .Treat every person as if they were Jesus in disguise,as far as I am able.
    Tip 6. Always be aware of children present and consider a child’s sensibilities.Always remember that as a baptized Christian I represent my Lord.Set a good example to children.
    Tip 7. Always seek Christian unity ,avoiding disunity and argument for arguments sake.
    Tip 9. Practise tithing and seek to be responsible and careful with my resources.Try always to keep a contingency fund.
    Tip 10.Never borrow.Better give than lend,especially outside family and very close friends.Don’t lend what you’d be unhappy never to get back. Be very careful as .borrowing and lending can create rifts and resentments
    Thankyou for this weeks blog,Pastor Don.I believe your 10 tips for Pastors can be adapted for everyone’s daily Christian life.As you say ,your tips are grounded in godliness ,decent ethics, good interpersonal skills & basic common sense.I think such things are very worth thinking about, planning and preparing ,as they help to create a better life situation.The better our life situation ,the better positioned we are to meet what our Lord asks ofr us.The better ready for Him and what He wills.

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