I’ve heard it said a million times, but it is really very true: Ministry is not a sprint, but a marathon. With that said, here are a few tips for ‘staying in it for the long haul’ for all you young pastors out there (yeah, I know that includes me):
- Rest is a must: Jesus said in Mark 2:27, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.” This is especially true for those in ministry. Whether you take moments to rest or not, either way you will stop. Our bodies are not machines, at a certain point you will burn out. If you’re in ministry to make it, take a day-off. Don’t worry, it’s not a sin!
- Optimism. Optimism. Optimism. In ministry you will experience the negatives of this fallen world. You are often the target of malicious talk and will, at times, experience failure. All that said, there are always some positive aspects to every situation. Make it a point to keep your focus on the positive. Trust me, this will save you hours of lost sleep!
- Don’t just make connections. Make friends. Ministry can be a lonely place. To be effective long-term in ministry you need others around you to encourage you, listen to you, and hold you accountable. This could be friends from across the country that you talk with on the phone or fellow ministers from across town. Either way, we need each other.
- Education is a process not a destination. Make it a point to learn from every situation. Look for opportunities to learn from others, even those younger then you. As you make education a process throughout life, you will ensure you ability to be fresh, effective and relevant.