has been adapted from a brief talk I delivered to the Oklahoma chapter of The Gospel Coalition.
Here are 10 things I wish I’d known when I first started out as a pastor.
wish I’d known that people who disagree with me on doctrines I hold dearly can
often love God and pursue his glory with as much, and in some cases more,
fervency than I do. The sort of intellectual pride that fuels such delusions
can be devastating to ministry and will invariably undermine any efforts at
broader Christian unity across denominational lines.
wish I’d known about the inevitable frustration that comes when you put your
trust in what you think are good reasons why people should remain loyal to your
ministry and present in your church. I wish I’d been prepared for the feelings
of betrayal and disillusionment that came when people in whom I’d personally
invested so much love, time, and energy simply walked away, often with the most
insubstantial and flimsiest of excuses.
3. I wish I’d known how deeply and incessantly many (most?) people suffer. Having been raised in a truly functional family in which everyone knew Christ and loved one another, I was largely oblivious to the pain endured by most people who’ve never known that blessing. For too many years I naively assumed that if I wasn’t hurting, neither were they. I wish I’d realized the pulpit isn’t a place to hide from the problems and pain of one’s congregation; it’s a place to address, commiserate with, and apply God’s Word to them."
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